Overall Millionaires

At Mother Juggs Restaurant there is a large table that seats ten to twelve people. It is set by by the back wall but where those sitting there can see who comes and goes. It is today’s equivalent of the spit and whittle corner for the old guys in town. However, those are the richest men in the county. I call them Overall Millionaires.

A large part of them wear bib overalls, ball caps, and muddy boots. They have long hair, beards, and aren’t a bit shy about spouting off one everything from pulling calves to local politics. The other half are clean cut, and wear Jeans and ball caps, along with very expensive cowboy boots, equally as muddy as their counterparts boots. They seem to be a bit younger, not a full generation, but younger than the first group.

They come and go depending on the day of the week and the time of morning. Some make it for breakfast, some make it for lunch, but one by one they come in and sit a spell. They must keep the coffee pot going all day long. They always look at the Mr. and I with a bit of suspicion when we come in. But last time we were there for breakfast, one actually nodded good morning to me, so we are making in roads to acceptance.

I always choose a table near they Overall Millionaire’s table and blatantly listen to the conversation. All the men are ranchers, running cattle of one form or another, and grow crops on the fields that were fallow the year before. I hear about how the soybean crop is doing in comparison to the corn crop, and how much a pregnant heifer will go for at auction. They blatantly condemn the horse dealers who want to buy horses to send to the kill barns, and absolutely hate anyone who mistreats an animal of any kind. Interesting guys.

As I sit at my table eating cinnamon toast and eggs and bacon, or even better bisquits and gravy, I am drawn back to the days when I was a young mom and I would take my boys out to breakfast at the local greasy spoon restaurant. The old men in there would solve all the problems of the world over a cup of coffee and the blue plate breakfast special. They would tease my boys and gently flirt with me just to get a laugh out of the each other. It was a good time, an easier time back then, even though we didn’t know it. Now I have found it again in a small restaurant just off the main drag in a small town in Oklahoma. Welcome home.

Two Stop Lights

We finally retired. Something the Mr. has looked forward to doing for the past three years or so. We packed up everything we felt was important to keep with us, loaded up a big old moving truck and moved to our final home until we take up our plot in the cemetery near our son and my mom and day.

We lived in a pretty big place, just south of Memphis, Tennessee. Lots of traffic, loads of school buses and a constant hectic pace was normal for us. We lived there for twelve years, and it became the way we lived. The Mr. had his morning commute into Memphis from the neighborhood we chose to live in, and then would reverse the trek every evening. I hated it, he hated it, but it meant we had a pay check every pay day. And, like most folks, we got used to it and it became part of our life. But as time went by, we began to yearn for a life where we could spend time together and with our family without rushing anywhere.

We have been retired for about a month. Our new home is in a small town in Oklahoma. There are two stop lights, one at either end of town. The only fast food is a Sonic Drive-in, and there are two restaurants, one traditional southern food, the other Mexican. Both are quite good, but we had to learn the times they are open because the hours are erratic compared to some place like Chili’s. Mother Juggs breakfasts are great (bisquits and gravy are highly recommended.) The Mexican place has great fajitas. The only grocery in town is a very small family run place that always has a place to park and they even carry out your groceries for you if you are old like me.

Our house is in the ‘nice’ side of town. Read that the houses cost more that the average home in this town. The town was founded by the Black Seminole Indians after the Civil War. Their reservation runs right along the road that goes past our house. On our side is the Creek Reservation, on the South side of the road it is fully Seminole. One of the most asked questions is what tribe we belong to. Doesn’t really matter, the Mr. is a card carrying Creek, so he is more than welcome. We love our house, it is exactly like the kind we used to visit when we were first married. We never dreamed we would be able to afford one, but here we are, living in one, unpacking boxes, and slowly making it our home.

It is interesting the things we find, like a very fancy restaurant just out side of town with amazing food. It may be fancy, but we can afford to each there several times a month if we want. There is a museum about the Seminole Tribe in town, a library, and a genealogical society available to everyone. This is the county seat for Seminole County. The old part of down town and much of the old neighborhoods are run down and empty. But new growth in the county is making a difference. The folks in charge are welcoming and friendly. Looks like we might get a bit involved with the local activities.

Last night we went to Mother Juggs for supper. As I tried to get out of the booth to leave, my legs gave out and I nearly fell. The lady in the booth behind me got up and helped me stand. She didn’t know me, I had never seen her before. It didn’t matter, she just got up and helped. As I thanked her, embarrassed that I couldn’t just stand up and walk out, she just shrugged and said she would help anyone in need. She patted my hand and told me I would be better soon and to take care of myself. The Mr. came back from paying the check to see me and a strange lady holding hands. As I hobbled to the car, I told him what had transpired. He was pleased someone offered help. I realized that people in Oklahoma stand back and watch the new folks with a bit if suspicion, but if in they are truly in need they will step up and make a difference in their day.

We live in a small, quiet town filled with the under privileged and poor, but they have pride, traditions, and a sense of community that is admirable. We may only have two stop lights, but folks here have a lot of go.