Place: Ron's Famous Chili and Burgers, Peoria Street, Tulsa, OK
Occasion: Lunch, hours before doctor visit to find out there won't be eating at Ron's again.
While enjoying a nice lunch, chili-cheeseburger and root beer, two older (one 60's one 70's) over-weight country garbed ladies enter and stand conspicuously in the middle of the restaurant. I'm not quite sure if they stole my heart, my dignity, or just 20 minutes of my life...you can help me decide...
Gert: I told you, you just stand right here and they come find you and tell you where to sit.
Bert: I don't think so...look at everybody, that guy just sat down.
G: I've been to the one at...EXCUSE ME, DO YOU COME SIT US DOWN OR DO WE JUST PICK?
Server: M'am, you ladies just sit wherever you like, we'll be right with you.
B: Told you.
G: Hush, I told you I've been here before.
B: Not THIS one.
[Gert and Bert sit down in the corner, right behind me. I'm eating my tots waiting on a fork, with the waitress taking their order, getting drinks and coming back...in between...]
B: I thought you said they had a special?
G: They ALWAYS have a calm bow.
B: Well, I don't see it...maybe they tell you at the table.
[waitress on way back with drinks...conversation quickens with feeble and unsuccessful attempt to be a whisper]
G: I mean they always have a CALM BOW! I ALWAYS GET IT!
B: This ain't yours.
G: Hush, here she comes, she don't look too bright.
B: You hush, I still don't see a COMBO anywhere.
G: THANK YOU DARLIN!! I BEEN LOOKING AND I DON'T SEE ANY CALM-BOWS HERE ON YOUR MENU....AT THE ONE I ALWAYS GO TO, THEY HAVE A CALM-BOW I GET ALL THE TIME.
Waitress: We have the combo listed on the insert, with the bratwurst, but that's it this week...can you tell me which Ron's you normally go to?
G: WELL, AREN'T YOU ALL THE SAME?
Waitress: We are all franchises, but each store has a little bit of difference to it.
G: WELL, I DON'T SEE ANY CALM-BOWS I'M USED TO SEEING.
Waitress: Well, what do you usually get?
G: I GO TO THE ONE AT "XYZ" AND I ALWAYS GET THE BURGER/FRY/DRINK CALM-BOW.
Waitress: Oh, well, you should just order those here, you'll find its cheaper at our prices than the combo at your Ron's.
[They actually order at this point, after some length and many more questions...they both get a standard burger, fries, and a drink. I am, however, glad that they have evaluated everything on the left half of the menu for sheer entertainment purposes...only four more mentions of "CALM-BOWS"]
G: SO, As I was telling you, They are gonna get ALL NEW TILE, but not from the same house, its coming from another house.
B: Well, will it be NEW? If it's coming from another house.
G: I DON'T KNOW ABOUT THAT, but they are getting all new tile because they messed up that wood.
B: Did I tell you about Jana?
B: Jana...JAH NUH...Jana Spivey.
G: Oh-Oh, OH, Jana SPIVEY. What about her?
B: She had to go back into the hospital...
G: She did, oh what for?.......You know, I almost had to go back because of my erratic heartbeat and them saying I had NO BLOOD PRESSURE AT ALL...So, I went to Doctor Spiner's and he set me up with a new blood pressure machine, for me to have at home.
B: Well, My blood pressure machine is 5 years old now and it works perfect all the time.
G: YEAH, WELL, AHAHAHAHH, WE'LL BOTH PROBABLY HAVE QUAD-BY-PASS SURGE--EERY SOON....HAH HAH HAH!
Waitress: Thank you ladies, here's your check, Two Burgers, Two French Fries and Two Cokes...have a nice day.
Some time during the past twenty minutes, I realized something. There are millions of Bert's and Gert's around the world, and they make a living by wrecking the English language and assaulting the common decency of most they come across. They live life on their terms and forge their way through the this day and age, which is no longer their's. They probably spoil their grand-kid's as they preach to their children that "if you spank that kid, they'll mind better". You probably know these two, or two just like them...given a day or so, you could probably drive back to some little town and find them, or find your own versions from your past. Had Thelma and Louise landed softly, they'd have played out this scene many times.
For me...it was my Grandmother and my Aunt. Both gone some 10-15 years now, I couldn't quite bring myself to dislike Bert and Gert...they were too much a part of me to dismiss. Even as I type this, a tear pushes forth, because I'd give much of what I have to see my Grandmother and Aunt argue over how good the Pie is in Wewoka Oklahoma. I miss it. I miss them. Imperfect as they are...broken pieces of humanity, creating a little travesty wherever they go...God love'em...they have a place at my table.
Dignity, Humor, or just the time...maybe they didn't rob me at all...perhaps they gave me a little gift instead. My Maw-Maw West used to really piss off my Aunty Jerrye...why? I don't know. But she'd say "She was supposed to be a boy, which is why I named her Jerry....and did you know she was born in a tent, cuz we couldn't afford the hospital?" "Shut UP MAMA!"
Wow...$10.33 got me a hell of lunch today. I just wish I knew what they hell happened to Jana Spivey...guess now I'll never know.