“We can talk about baseball bats, bat mitzvahs, Mr. T., tea lights, light beer, beer nuts, nut bread, breadwinners, winter gardens, garden tools, tool boxes, boxing matches, matchmakers, Maker’s Mark, marking your territory, territorial waters, waterfalls, falling leaves, leaving home, home runs, runner beans, beanie hats, hat pins, Pinterest, interest rates (as long as you don’t mention government), rating movies, moving parts, party planners, lumber planers, plain living, living rooms, room to grow or growing old,” he asserted. “But I’ll be tempted to spit in the coffee of the first guy to mention ‘vote,’ ‘disaster,’ or anything ‘-in-chief.’
“And don’t use the word ‘election’ in any context other than the Reformation,” he added.
Several of us sighed, imagining that a free-will-and-predestination debate could keep us occupied longer than the Democrat-Republican version.
“On the other hand, let’s not open that Diet of Worms, either,” Clyde said.
Maurice told us he’d built a new hoophouse before cold weather and now had a nice crop of collards, baby lettuce and arugula that would furnish a side income this winter.
“Ain’t that a combination?” Chester asked, slapping his thigh. “Po’-folks grub and yuppie food together.”
Mark disagreed, noting that upscale restaurants have discovered the epicurative properties of collards.
“It’s just like when they discovered grits a few years back, even if they’re more likely to say ‘polenta,’” he said. “They’re all ‘yuppie food’ now.”
Maurice smiled knowingly.
“Yep,” he said. “That means they’re worth a whole lot more.”
About the most momentous local news any of us had was from Arthur himself, who proudly announced that we had a new full-length mirror in the men’s room.
“That’ll kill your short-order business,” Pete said. “Ain’t a one of us old who’ll have any appetite after seeing his own reflection.”
Bud floored us by announcing he was retiring from the cow-calf business yet again. It wasn’t too surprising an announcement – hauling hay to the herd on a 10-degree morning isn’t something that most men 30 years his junior would enjoy – but his reasoning caught us flat-footed.
“I’ve heard too much bad news about the economy,” he declared with the straightest face he could muster. “So I’m gettin’ out of the stock market.”
Our cups and our credulity drained, the Coffee Clutchers adjourned.
Contact Daily Journal Oxford Bureau reporter Errol Castens at firstname.lastname@example.org.