Wednesday, October 16, 2013


While sitting in our car in the shade we saw an old couple walk out of McDonalds.

Well, the woman of the duo did. The old guy was on two canes and barely moving. Arms like toothpicks. He had lost all expression, it was just grim.

There was a Ford-150 pickup truck about 100 feet from the door and it took them fifteen minutes to get there. The woman could have walked back and forth five times by the time her man got there with her. And by the time they did, he was now holding onto the back tailgate while he gave her the keys to open the passenger side, and somehow, Sweetheart couldn't believe, the crippled fellow was going to drive.

He was throwing all sorts of mean and ugly not at all nice stuff now at the woman, in that quite typical male lost his dignity and strength and manliness and was embarrassed as to his appearance and the wife was catching it all. Nothing else lived in the man's mind or eyesight but the woman, and without her he would be no more than a slug in the road with two canes long lost. But she did as she was told.

The man sidled his way along the street side of the truck, opened the door, rolled down the window, pushed open the side vent, got his grip around the open window and the steering wheel and slid himself up into the driver's seat. Another five minutes goes by. He finally gets the truck moving, old red color, automatic, dusty breadbasket model, Leer cap, moves toward where we are lounging and sharing a Coke and heads down the street only 200 feet before he turns into McDonalds again and parks, in the closest corner, looking out at the highway.

Now we get what this is all about.

In another age, long before McDonalds and all the shlock before us, this area was a beautiful cup of old farmland, traditional road, and a restaurant called Turnbulls sat close to where this McDonald's oozes. A real family restaurant.

We would go there as a young couple and sit with farmers at 4 PM early bird specials. Men without women. Old skilled waitresses. It was well known, always packed, and there were picture windows that looked out at the highway.

Our bet is this old couple used to do this, as we did: sit and look out at the highway. Even though the highway is now broadened three times, hellishly busy, the farm land is gone to gas stations, mall, junk supreme, and it's all non-stop, but not to this old couple.

We drove off and had a look at them as we passed by — there they were simply sitting there not saying a word to one another and watching the world they know. It wasn't the one happening.


 Bob Arnold