Clad in a thin, red-flannel shirt and well-worn jeans the stranger looked like he’d fit right in with the regulars at Mom’s Café. Marcie, scanning his tanned face and tired blue eyes asked, “Can I seat you at the counter or would you like that booth back in the corner?”
The man gestured towards the back and was soon sitting alone with a steaming cup of coffee. Apparently he didn’t want to fit right in.
During the next hour Marcie checked on him several times, but he was a man of few words. He nursed another cup of coffee thoughtfully.
Against the radio’s background music and the muted conversation of customers in front the man looked up as Marcie came over again, carrying a tray.
“The cook sends over a complimentary cup of the soup he’s making for lunch. See if he’s got the seasoning right or not.” She added with a smile, “Back in a little bit.”
Soon the place had nearly cleared out, breakfast concluded and the work day begun in the small farming town. Seemingly, everyone had something to do, except for the man in the back booth.
Marcie glided across the floor with the ever-present coffee carafe. “How was the soup?” She filled the empty cup. “We’re a friendly town…”
“Good. Thanks. As a matter of fact, I’m just traveling through and ….”
“Do you have a minute?” here Marcie allowed the briefest pause before plunging ahead, “You remind me of a very nice man, and I hope you don’t mind if I chat before things get busy in here again.”
“Why, thank you, young lady. As a matter of fact, maybe some talk of the crops or weather will take my mind off what’s been stewing on the back burner.”