Just Write {141}

June 24, 2014

In small towns the retired men come to diners or coffee shops every single day, at the same time. If someone misses a day, the conversation is about what they might be doing. And today they’re talking a lot about the ceaseless rain, how high the dam water is, how the lakes are up to the point where docks are drowning. They’ve never seen it like this before.

The server knows all of their names, or I should say, their nicknames, because almost all of them have one. Nicknames are as common as gossip here. I kind of want one.

One of the old boys talks more than the rest. Some of them don’t say a word other than hello and goodbye. They are all weathered and gray-haired. The Talker laughs at his own jokes and isn’t afraid to admit that he tried to charge his cell phone with his razor cord. He guffaws at his own mistake and adds, I don’t know what’s wrong with me!? His friend says that he wouldn’t know either, that he only knows how to “put a coin in” to make a call.

There were big storms coming this way last night, according to the forecast. They were expected with high winds and rain in the night. The server asked the guys if they were able to sleep and they all seem unruffled. “Eh, I sleep fine. If the winds going to blow me away, so be it.”

Later they put coins in the dish that holds the creamer and start to play dice. One of them will win about five bucks. It’s something to do, and they love it.

I want to ask one of them to come and sit with me and then I want to say, Tell me one of the best stories of your life. Then I want to write it out for him, give it a title, put it in a binder like a book. I want to hear him read it out loud, or come from the mouth of someone he loves. Someone who knows him best, from a stage.

This is the kind of thing I’m going to do in this small town. Bring stories to pages and voices and audiences. You just wait and see, I might even have a nickname soon.


This is the 141st installment of Just Write, an exercise in free writing your ordinary and extraordinary moments. {Please see the details here.} I would love to read your freely written words so join me and link up below. You can add the url of your post at any time. Just be sure it’s a link to your Just Write post, not to your main page. There are really no rules, besides Just Write! (Then link back to this post in your post so people know where to go if they’d like to join in.) (Any links not following those two guidelines will be deleted.)

Also. Please take a moment to visit someone else who has linked up! It’s a really good way to meet new writers and get inspired by the meaning behind their moments. Word?


Lisa June 24, 2014 at 10:04 am

Love this. One of my jobs in high school was waitressing at a place at which these men met. I knew more than I wanted about them, and I loved seeing how some pretended to be aloof but worried about another if he didn’t show up. I still remember some of their idiosyncrasies; the one guy who always ordered cantaloupe with cottage cheese and bacon bits, and the other who threw a fit if his rhubarb pie wasn’t warm and on the table as he sat down. I used to resent them. As I get older, I see that they just wanted to know that someone paid attention. Thanks for the trip down memory lane. xo

Sidnie June 24, 2014 at 10:13 am

I was a waitress in high school at a little main street diner like this.
The cops came in late at night; they’d sometimes race out the door, leaving a half eaten plate on the table. The old men would cozy up at the table against the wall; they’d side-eye the family with the rowdy kids.
I don’t think I paid enough attention; I just needed the tips at the end of the night to add to my car fund.

Small towns become a part of you… I’m excited to see how you use this new part of you.

Kelly V June 24, 2014 at 2:17 pm

Um, hello? You have one! Heather 52! ;-)

I want to play dice with these folks!

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