There's a little burg over on I-70 almost due south of here, Bates City. It isn't a notable place, really. Sort of an accidental little town with no square in the center like you expect with a burg made up of older homes. The only time we even passed through it was when we had the motorcycle, due to the fact that the road from our place to that town, as well as one that leads on south, is curvy and scenic.
We went one day for lunch, just to check it out; it's located just off the freeway in a building that, many years ago, was a gas station; there is nothing fancy at all about this place. When we entered, I was immediately taken back in memory to the 1950's when, for a brief time, my mom and Aunt Ruby worked at Laura Reed's cafe in Eagleville. Ah, the smell of a greasy spoon! To enhance my memories even more, there are pictures of Marilyn Monroe and Elvis on the walls, and a vintage Fender jukebox on display.
The food was good and the atmosphere friendly. As customers entered, the staff called them by name. We were the only strangers there, it seemed. All that separated us from the cooking was a counter across the room, and we watched the cook enjoy his job.
I noticed at the time that the Friday night special is currently all-the-fish-you-can-eat. We aren't eating out much these days, as we really are serious about losing weight, but sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do. Last night was the night.
The cafe presented a much different picture on Friday evening than at mid-week lunch-time. There were a couple of guys busy in the kitchen, and people were coming in the door at a steady rate. Even so, everybody seemed to know everybody else. We ordered the all-you-can-eat fish and relaxed in the atmosphere.
Our plates appeared in good time. Oh, the baked potato! How is it that something so simple as a baked potato can taste better at certain places? We each received three large pieces of fish piled on our plates, and when the waitress came to our table to ask if we were going to want more, we were so stuffed we told her we just couldn't eat another bite.
Now here's a strange thing: When she brought our ticket to us, she had originally made it out for $15.99, which was supposed to be the cost; but she had scratched all through that and charged us only $10 each for the meals. I don't know why. Maybe because we couldn't eat any more? Maybe because she finally realized we're old? But that would be the largest senior discount I ever got.
When we got home I put my nice comfortable pajamas on. As I picked up the shirt I'd just taken off, I got a whiff of the wonderful, greasy-spoon smell of the Bates City Cafe. I took it in the living room with me, held it up to Cliff's face, and said, "Hey, smell my shirt!"
He just grinned as he took a whiff.
I smelled the shirt again this morning and it brought a smile to my face. Maybe I won't wash it for a couple of weeks until we can feel justified in going out to eat again.