by Tari Parker
This afternoon on my way home from Chehalis, wanting to support small businesses in the area, I stopped at a little restaurant.
Standing at the counter reading the menu on the wall, I asked the waitress how hot the hot wings were, and what kind of fish they used for fish and chips.
The only other customers were two couples sitting at a table in the corner, and who looked to be in their mid- to late 60’s.
“Everything is good here,” one of the women said, and at least one of the men made some kind of remark in agreement.
I sat down at a table to wait for my order when on impulse I got up and went to their table.
“You offered me your expertise on the menu,” I said. “In your infinite wisdom, I’d like to hear what bit of wisdom you might share that I could take with me on my life’s journey.”
They all froze for a few seconds before one man said he wasn’t one to ask since he doesn’t have any.
One of the women said, “Always say your prayers.”
The second man kept his eyes lowered. “I see that you are pondering this in order to give me worthy guidance.”
“No, I’m trying to ignore the question.”
The second woman looked at me with an expression of distain.
“Your question would be, ‘Why don’t you get lost?'” I said.
“Something like that,” she admitted.
“That wouldn’t upset me at all,” I told her.
I thanked them for entertaining my request and opened the book I had with me while my food was being prepared. I’d taken several bites of food when they got up and walked toward me and the door.
The man who said that he was trying to ignore the question stopped in front of me and said, “I have something to share. If there was no change in the world, there wouldn’t be any butterflies.”
“Beautiful” I said, and applauded.
“That’s my favorite saying,” his wife said, the woman who told me to say my prayers. “It’s in a frame on the wall in my kitchen. I keep it there to remind me that change will happen if I want it to or not, but the older I get the harder it is to change.”
“Yes, it’s the hardest thing in the world.” I agreed.
An over-head TV was showing a commercial that caught my eye as the two couples stepped outside of the restaurant. There was a flowering shrub with a gorgeous butterfly hovering on a clump of flowers.
The only thing that would have made our brief encounter richer would have been for the man who was willing to share a bit of wisdom with me to have seen the butterfly before they left…and maybe not.
© 2011 Tari Parker
Many years ago I developed a crush on a gorgeous blonde named Becki. Although that relationship faded into a distant but sweet acquaintanceship, what remained and continues to this day is my friendship with her mother, Tari Parker.
Tari, which is pronounced “Terry,” is now 81 or so, and over the past few years has started writing, snippets of which she sends me about once a month.
Tari specializes in recording her quirky little encounters with people, such as folks she shares a table with at the Tumwater Costco while munching on a hot dog, dispensing marital counseling to a young mother at a gas station, or the cop who pulls her over for some traffic infraction in Chehalis and ends up recommending a local Mexican restaurant. One of the features of Tari’s stories is that somewhere along the line she crosses a boundary of conventional social conduct.
Some people, such as my ex-in-NY, say that Tari is the world’s Biggest Buttinski; others champion Tari’s ability to find a new level of soul-connection with fellow travelers. For me, I just marvel at her capacity to reach across a chasm, and there have been a few times where I wish I had half her chutzpah. If I did, Becki might not be married to that other guy. – BAS
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