I’ve had this conversation brewing in my mind for months now… I surely will not do it justice. You will have to imagine me telling you this story out loud, all animated and accented… perhaps that will save it from being a “I guess you had to be there” kind of thing.
[setup] A particular evening in July found us with no power within 30 miles. Word had it that the far side of Greenville had power. When The Boy arrived home a bit early, I suggested we head out to McDonalds for dinner. It was only 5:30pm, still relatively light outside, and we could not open our fridge or freezer without fear of losing the contents to the Summer heat. So, McDonalds it was.
Apparently, Tuesday evenings at the Greenville McDonalds is a standing date for 5 much-older gentlemen. They all wandered in within minutes of each other, ordered their meals, and took a seat next to each other at the window counter. The following conversation was overheard and later participated in by me… and I will try to re-enact it as faithfully as I can.
George (the leader)
Joe (the silent one)
Frank (the singer)
Mike: You got power, Frank?
in quick reply, Frank bursts into song: I’ve got power, power, ev’r lastin’ power… in the LOOOORD, in the LOOOOOOOORD.
[The lights in McDs flicker wildly, foreshadowing the complete outage that would come in another 15 minutes or so.]
Earl: Did you SEE that?!
Frank raises his hands and begins to sing again: I saw the light! I saw the light! Praise the LOOOOOOOOOORD, I saw the light.
[Silent Joe joins him by clapping in-time. We are, apparently, having a revival. The other men continue over the serenade. This must happen all the time.]
Earl: They got batt’ries on sale at the store.
Mike: I don’t shop there. That man is a Kor-REEN.
Frank: Frederick Meijer is Korean?
George, to Mike: He was born right here where yer sittin’, you old fool.
Frank, snickering: In McDonalds?
George: Nah. In Greenville, you ol’ bat. Greenville! The birthplace of Meijer!
George: He’s DUTCH.
Mike: I’m talkin’ about Kenny Wong. He owns the grocery on the corner.
Frank: Well, if he’s Wong, I don’ wanna be right.
Earl: Kenny Wong is Korean.
Mike: Thas’ what I said!
George: Well, you can go get your batt’ries at Meijer, then.
Mike: I will. I WILL, dagnabbit.
Frank: Batt’ries are MADE in Korea. Maybe you outta check with Kenny.
Earl: I been to Korea. Long time ago.
[Curt returns with our order and then heads to the restroom. Save it. Our family has no fear of public restrooms.]
George turns to me abruptly and points: YOU are not from here.
Me: No, Sir. We live in Belding… but the power’s out there, too.
Me: Yes, sir.
George: Well, you’re not a native, that’s fer sure. Yer too pretty to be from Belding and your husband is wearing a BUTTON-DOWN SHIRT, for Pete’s sake!
It is at this point that I begin to lose it. When Curt returns, I am laughing so hard my face is red and there are tears running down my cheeks. He has missed the entire thing and it is no use explaining. Lawdy. My stomach still hurts from laughing so hard. Sometimes… out of the blue… I’ll hear Earl talking to himself:
I been to Korea.
Long time ago.
Can you picture it? Can you hear them? Can you hear Frank with his Granpa Church Voice? Even just for a moment? Bless my soul, it was a good night.
Y’all have a good weekend.
Talk to me soon.