Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Excuse me but haven't we met before?

The drive out west is always such a pain now that I'd made it so many times. I was looking to add some adventure to it and it was lunch time so I stopped at a roadside diner in Oklahoma. The place had caught my eye because of what looked like picnic tables out back under some large trees.

The place was about half full and I asked that gal at the counter if I could take my meal out to the tables outside and she looked puzzled for a second then looked back at the cook who shrugged his shoulders. She said that the tables were never used and that they were dirty but sure, I could go out there.

I went out to the car to get the newspaper I bought in Joplin to use as a sorta table cloth. The wind wasn't too bad so a couple of rocks held that paper down when I put my food down. About 100 yards away sat three small houses where I guess the owners of the diner lived. There was a woman hanging clothes on the line and she stopped when she saw me. I suppose she was curious as to why somebody was eating out there.

The wind moved her long hair when it gusted and the hanging sheets made me think of the sailing ships of Columbus I read about as a kid. I moved my sandwich off the newspaper and lifted the rocks allowing the wind to send the paper flying toward the houses, and the woman.

We ended up looking into each other's faces as we picked up the last of the sports section.

"I've never seen anybody eat at those tables".

"That's funny because after a few hours in a car you would think that people wouldn't want to sit inside smelling other people eat".

She laughed and said that she never thought of it that way. She told me that she had been working at this place for about eight months and that her cousin's husband owned the place. She split from her husband and needed to get away and they needed somebody to help out so it fit everybody's needs.

Then a young boy, about 5 or 6 I would have guessed came running out of one of the houses to grab onto her leg and look at me as if he was here to protect his mother from the stranger. I struck me to the core.

"Is this your brave knight sent to protect you from the strange and the unknown"?

"Yes, he is very protective" she said as she reached down to stroke his hair.

"You are very brave sir knight".

I returned to the table to grab the lunch that I would now finish in the car as I drove on to Los Angeles. The return trip would take me far north of the diner and I would not make the trip again until the next spring. The diner was shut down and the house had been abandoned. The clothes line stood bare as I approached the spot where I had talked to the woman and her child.

I looked at the small knight on horseback toy that I had brought with me. I walked over to the picnic table where I had sat before and set the figurine down so that he would be forever charging the sunrise.

Beautiful, zona x
Great piece.
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