it was early and Jimmie’s Diner was mostly empty.
Granger sat quietly, gazing off into middle distance that sees epochs and colors and ideas unexperienced in this life. The steam curling upward from the fresh refill of coffee Rizzo had just poured mingled with the melody he was softly humming to himself.
A steno book lay open before him, pen positioned crosswise as if to guard his myriad thoughts from prying, careless eyes. A writer’s thoughts are not playthings.
He had noticed the younger couple enter the restaurant but chose to pay them no mind, though the cologne introduced itself long before the man said a word. When the man spoke again, sharper this time, Granger realized he was the young man’s focus. Turning his head and making eye contact, he raised his eyebrows in silent response. The speaker could have just stepped from a Nordstrom’s clothing display niche. The pale eggshell long-sleeved button down coordinated nicely with the designer jeans. His navy linen sport jacket probably cost more than Granger ever spent on dinner. For eight.
“What’s that tune you’ve been sitting over there humming? Seems familiar.”
“Spirit of the living God, fall fresh on me.”
Giving an irreverent, rude raspberry through pursed lips, the younger man’s face rearranged itself into a picture of pity, derision and humor.
“Seriously? That old stuff?” His laughing wasn’t quite a sneer, but as he said, “Are you for real?” Granger imagined the text appearing in a bubble above the slick young progressive’s head: “R U 4 real?”
With a gentle smile, Granger quietly dismissed the rudeness, concentrating again on ordering the scattered thoughts he’d begun composing. Rick Rude wasn’t through.
“If 1951 ever rolls around again, you’ve got this thing wired, man!” Glancing around at his equally-elegant companion, the heckler never saw Rizzo shaking her head and muttering, “Bad idea…” “I mean, c’mon, dude–2016? New Year’s? Hel-LO-oo!”
Granger laid down his pen and fixed his gaze on the young tormentor, his hazel eyes taking on a strange intensity that signaled to anyone who knew him that the recipient was about to be taken to school.
“To you it’s 2016. With God, it simply IS. He and all else except this tiny bubble of Earthly atmosphere in which you reside is Timeless. This is a new day for me, and since I’m thankful for each one of those, I was requesting from a Timeless, eternal God something fresh and vivid from Him as I began living it.”
“My humming was not loud enough to bother anyone. I sat here away from any incoming diners so as to purposefully not bother, nor be bothered. This restaurant is virtually empty, yet you chose to sit right across from me. . . That my tune sounded familiar to you tells me you once attended church, and likely with grown-ups who tried to teach you both manners and a Christ-like spirit.”
Steve Slick was now beginning to squirm a bit to the amusement of his companion. Granger continued.
“This being Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, consider some of his words: “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” Gathering his notebook and phone and putting them in his bag, Granger stood. “I echo that dream, young friend. Yet it would seem that despite many efforts to realize it, we still have much unfinished work to do, for in the arena of character, yours is seriously lacking. You look good and smell good but you don’t sound good. You would do well to reconsider the value of all you were taught as a boy.” He then momentarily pinned the young woman companion for a few seconds with his gaze.
The door quietly latched behind him as he walked out into the hazy, piercing sunlight. He could see his breath as he chuckled to himself. There’s a lot to be said for maturity.
© D. Dean Boone, January 2016