Time to Confess a Truth
(that is very dear to me) to be shared with you. I promise to not prod, crowd, or even beg any of you to believe what you are about to read. This is not fiction. This is not a neo-surrealistic offering that I happen to see somewhere in San Francisco. I not only seen this place in my spirit, but have lived it since 1973.
No joke. No flim-flam. When you finish this reading, you may laugh, scowl at whomever is reading with you and you might even fall over with gales of boorish laughter and it will not bother me in the least. When I share something very close and very serious, I am not going to follow my introduction of a serious tone with a foolish verbiage that might pass for someone's quickly-sketched comedy sketch.
In my summary, this one thing said it all. It was time for this to be put to the keyboard and into your eyes. Hopefully too, for you to think about what you have read and maybe someday in some vacant corner of your guarded life, you will visit with me.
I Really Believe That
everyone on this earth, here and then, either has one of these and never knew what it was or had one and never took it seriously. I am going to tell you what "I" think my place is called, of course your place may differ in name, but they are all of the same nature.
I call my place "My Restaurant." Certainly not for gorging on delicious food. Certainly not for a cleverly-hidden place where I might cheat on my wife and her not catch me. But I won't. And haven't. My Restaurant is far more than a sexual rendevoux or eating trough. This place is mine. I owe nothing on the mortgage. My Restaurant exists everyday 24/7. You might like it if you choose to join me sometime. No harm will come to you. I can prove it. I have visited in my place for years and not one hair of my head has been harmed.
Your secret "restaurant," hang-out, or cafe, I know is totally different than mine and that makes me glad. No one ever has ever had the same identical cafe since time. Pretty nice even if I do say so. One final part of my introduction is this: I never indicated or implied that my restaurant was an upscale gathering place where the well-to-do meet, nibble expensive foods and socialize. No. My place of total peace is always seen by the way too busy and cannot distinguish what they are looking at. Frustrating if you are one of these elitists.
An additional thought concerning everyone having their own "restaurant," and I think that this one will work for almost any occasion. You are at your 20th high school reunion, "Home of The Yellow Bobcats," and throughout this special occasion a lot of cliques (groups) with various common interests always gang-up, sip the spiked punch and chat. You have a valuable secret to share, but you being a nice guy or gal, you wait until just the right time or else you will be thought of as a fool. No one would like that after you won the tag of "Most Friendly" in your junior year.
Then it happens. There is a slight lull in the conversation among doctors, writers, and some prosperous construction bosses. "I have a secret place that I call my restaurant," you confess with straight face. "Really?" coos "Margie Blaylock," "Most Popular Girl. And then you have the floor. Now I am honest as the day is long. Not every one of your group will understand what you are talking about, but "Margie," and "Nancy Stanley," "Prettiest Cheerleader" both admire you for every word that flows out of your mouth.
What Happens When
I fade into my restaurant? A lot of things and not one thing at the same time. There is a sameness and yet a shaded difference in each entrance of my restaurant. Although I am always welcome by the lone cook whose face I have never seen, yells a hearty and sometimes-verbally-orchestrated "welcome to the dump," and laughs. I laugh too. Then suddenly a piping-hot of black coffee appears in front of me where I sit at "my" table. I'm home, I think to myself.
I slowly sip my delicious coffee and totally relax. This is the reason for me having this restaurant. Relaxation. No worries. No questions asked of me. And no reason why I cannot just live. It was not until a few years that I discovered my secret place where I always get free black coffee. I love this place and in all of the years that I've been frequenting this restaurant, I have never had to pay for one cup of black coffee.
Who Stops to Visit
when I am on one of my trips to my restaurant? I would love, and I mean love, to share every name that I can remember, but you know what's the truth? This hub would go into extra innings and then HubPages' editors would complain about me making a lengthy hub into serial form and actually, my sweet friends and followers have lives to live and mortgages to pay, so I do my best to keep my pieces to one reading. Have I ever told you about my compassion for strangers?
The thing about those people whom I've met or know, everyone does not come in as a crowd. I suppose that my restaurant has "rules" for places like this. But since I've been in this place I quickly learned that not asking questions goes a long way with the rules as I will not want to be asked to not come here. Do you understand?
I have in a few years sat and listened to three different women--three different personalities and three different walks of life and one at a time, I have fell in love with each one. I wish that I could tell you that I am very ashamed or very remorseful, but honest to God, I cannot. I have always thought that there was something wrong with my mental health, but my parents never believed in such things when I was a boy, so I just went on living, growing, hurting and being hurt. All in a day's life, huh?
I am not or never will be a gigolo. Not that I would not love to have around four lovely women who want me to spend a night or two with them and always get a hefty check for the work. That sounds so cheap doesn't it? I'm sorry. Sometimes I get to thinking outloud.
These women who have broke my heart are still customers with this establishment. I see them quite frequently depending on what the special is that marked clearly on the front windows. Last month it was facing certain life issues about why I should or shouldn't come clean and tell these ladies just how deeply in love I have been over the years.
Would the women scream with anger? Or would they blush with a sudden ego burst? I do not know for I have never been what you call an "expert" on and about women. I do know how I feel and what it feels like is reality to me. Time for another cup of black coffee.
Among these three women who gave me this permanent broken heart, there are those occasional females that I adored (in my younger years) in film and television, but not in that order. The one gorgeous woman who keeps visiting my restaurant is Ava Gardner. May I? What a doll! With new ways to define her figure as shapely, she always, without fail, looks gorgeous.
As I am consuming my black coffee, I notice her in my peripheral vision and guys, I just want to take a moment to thank God for giving me two eyes to look at Ava for an hour. Maybe three. I can hear her before her perfume and figure gets to my table. The suttle sound of her high heels walking in perfect rhythm tells me that Ava is here tonight. And my other senses report that she is not wearing a mink stole. Just her regular wardrobe--tight, sleeveless dress, (low cut, yes) and those Rio red lipstick and sinfully-brunette hair.
I stop drinking my coffee. I am frozen as she slowly sits down across my table. She and I can both her my own heart beat. We do not speak. We don't have to. She knows exactly what I am thinking. "Ahhh, you are such a gentleman," she says in thought. I smile at her and verbally ask, "why did you and Frank Sinatra split?" For a lovely female she now grimaces, grinds her eyelids and manages to touch my hand. My blood pressure rises to a dangerous level that nears death.
Ava and I share a little chit chat and I love her giggle and she promises that I will see her again. I am now at a major dilemma. I have two choices: one, to watch her slowly float away watching her perfect figure as she fades away, or two, just look at the table top and do my best to keep my thoughts pure.
You would think that between Ava Gardner and Elizabeth Taylor, Liz would win hands down. But now we see the one hidden factor in why I chose Ava to visit me in my restaurant. Liz, just an opinion, was a bit uppity and that's fine. I understand how hard she worked going up those "stairs of stars," but Ava appeals more to me because I know what it was like to live in a worldly, shady, and on-the-edge type of life. And Ava has that sensational mischievous streak that she hid way too much when she was acting.
Now the Common People
show up at the most-opportune times. I have visited my restaurant sometimes twice in one week and visited two different people. Truth. One was a man who was obviously down on his luck, but you couldn't tell it by his smile. I did not have the heart to gig him about his circumstances. He just sat at my table andn I had my waitress send him a plate of eggs, sunny side up; crisp bacon; light toast and black coffee. He never asked me to do that. I felt that I needed to do that for him, a man whom I had never met, but it was like he was always living next door when I was growing up.
Just as quickly as he eat his meal, he vanished. He did throw me a wink as he cloudy atmosphere turned back to jagged reality. This is when I just went to bed. I didn't have any dreams. I just slept.
But during the next waking day, I had another compelling urge to visit my restaurant again. I walked through the front doors, "welcome to my dump," the old short order cook smiled and told me sit where I wanted. The waitress was a new girl, very attractive, but also very unsure of herself. My heart went out for her as she dropped a few plates and cups, but her natural blond hair with curls in the back was so mesmerizing. I didn't care if she broke every dish in the place. That waitress served me once. I never seen her again.
Then there was a time when driving back from another obscure town. It's like that when you travel as you make your living as a salesman. But there he was sitting down at my table--a man whom I remember smelling alcohol on his breath, but it was snowing and I felt awful for him with that huge backpack and looking as if each step were his last.
Sure enough, it was him. He had made his destination years ago when we first met. I never got a chance to ask him that much about his life except he was happy that he had went to work for a big carpentry operation somewhere in Colorado and the work was good and pay was fine. In trying to say thanks for giving him a ride, I urged him to stop. It wasn't about doing something for getting something, but to help a stranger. And the few patrons including the old cook and pretty, unsure waitress heard me as I cheered, "that felt nice," and suddenly went back to where I lived.
At any Given Time
I can visit my restaurant and hear "my" music on that worn-out old jukebox sitting in the dark corner of the restaurant. There was Steppenwolf; CCR; Hendrix; Merle Haggard and a lot of Hank Williams, Jr. All for my listening pleasure. But I do have to give that jukebox a token quarter (knowing ahead of time that it's broken down) to get a song to play.
I mentioned to you earlier about the three women whom broke my heart. Well, my heart has not healed. But before I get the nerve to tell each one how I truly felt, I will make this my quest to get this said before I leave for the next life.
I wish that I could find just the near-perfect way to finish this hub. But before my final comments (below), among those two traveling men that you have already read about, Ava Gardner, and my broken jukebox that only plays "my" tunes, I have sat many times at "my" table and watched numerous people of my past ranging from ignorant boyhood to not-so-sharp teen then a mixed-up young adult and I wish that I had enough time to name them all.
But that one person will always be at my restaurant--that is before I find the faith to move past the faceless men and women who walked through my life, but back to that one guy, his name is Donald Burgett, my daughter's godfather. He is what he is and has never changed. Truth is, and I have told him this many times, he should have went into the radio business as a DJ, but in reality, he retired from my hometown of Hamilton, Alabama from the City Street Dept., from 30 years of service and now when we see each other, I always say, "Donald, what are you doing now that you are retired?" "Not one thing. That's it." He replies. Then we share a few memories and go about our business.
Meanwhile, I will sit in my restaurant listening to my music, drinking my black coffee and wondering where that pretty waitress (with blond curls in the back) ended up?
Until I settle these things, my restaurant shall always be my place and always open.
Good night, Tulsa, Oklahoma. *Country Music icon, Don Williams scored a huge hit with his song, "Tulsa Time." Just wanted to share.
Would You Like to Take a Guess
whom this visitor is? He is always in my restaurant--day or night. He never talks, but just has that almost obscure smile. He never moves. Seemingly, he just hovers in space. Am I creeped out by this visitor? No. I have met worse.
© 2017 Kenneth Avery