Richard, Issue 8
My niece and her cousin joined me for breakfast at The Doo-Dah Diner, where they experienced the pleasure of meeting some of the interesting people who find their way to The Counter. The endearing young couple next to us, who ordered Tanya’s Benny and Chicken and Waffles, were married one year ago at the ages of 31 and 28. That seems pretty young to be taking such a step, but they appeared to be mature for their age. He started life as an Okie, and she as a Texan. They have been living recently in Montana, where he was a fire fighter. She, after teaching seventh grade for a while, worked more recently as a nanny for the owners of the fire-fighting company. They had become acquainted with the Doo-Dah earlier when he was helping to build the Quik Trip on the other side of the freeway. When they are in Wichita, that is where they eat. Why look any further? The waitress remembered not only them, but what they liked to eat, as well. They were on their way to Stuart, Florida for a wedding. She was looking forward to the Florida sunshine after living in Montana. They own a sailboat in which they will live while they go on to Bermuda, and then south through the Caribbean Sea. They have adopted a life style of wandering wherever life takes them next. They live simply and work and save, when they must, to support it. They say it is not as expensive living on a boat as you might think. I don’t mind sharing my envy with you.
The man on my left was about to drive his rental car to the airport, where he would take off for his home in Indianapolis. He was here visiting relatives, one being a toddler whom he had addressed that morning by her first name followed by the syllables “Doo-Dah.” He is a Director of Christian Development in Asia, and he enjoys finding locally-owned restaurants when he is traveling. When his search on the internet found one named “Doo-Dah Diner,” it was like a divine message. Not only did he hit the jackpot, but he got the “Scrumptious Sunday Buffet” and a seat at The Counter to boot.
He came from Virginia to run in the Prairie Fire Marathon Race the next morning at 7:30, October 14. The timing was just right for having the extra fun of doing it in the rain which was forecast along with mid-forties temperatures. He planned to take advantage of a beautiful sunny afternoon for walking to shop for a poncho to wear before the race. He said he would not need it once he started running. When I suggested that he forget the whole thing and wait for nicer weather, he pointed out that he could not do that after traveling halfway across the country for the event. His goal is to run in every state of the union. His age is 37, and this is his 37th state. He must have started at a very early age. As a business consultant, he was going to make a trip to Dallas while he was in the vicinity. His college training was in engineering, and he is retired from the air force. He wolfed down a whole Triple D breakfast (half orders of Tanya’s Benny, Banana Bread French Toast, and Crispy Corned Beef Hash) plus a biscuit with sausage gravy, which gave him away at first glance as a likely first timer at the Doo-Dah Diner. That should have given him enough energy to participate in two or three marathons.
As she pointed out, when she heard that my birthday was coming up, she is exactly ½ century and ½ year younger than I. I can hardly wait for her to catch up. You would have fallen in love with her; I did. She plays cello in the Wichita Symphony. She makes the third Wichita Symphony cellist with whom I have become acquainted over the years. She says the symphony practices around 10 hours during the week preceding a concert. She teaches 30 cello students, mostly of middle and high school age. She has a couple younger and a couple older ones. She had a 15-year-old student who was accepted in the Wichita Symphony. She loves her work. She grew up in Montana and has lived in Wichita for about 14 years. She got her college education in Appleton, Wisconsin and Wichita State University. She sits at The Counter when she comes to the Doo-Dah Diner alone. How lucky I am that she does; she is a beautiful person and a delight to converse with.
Smile, say “Good morning,” and start asking questions. You’ll be glad.