When the kids ended up with dinner plans and we were left with none, DH and I opted to get a bite to eat out while making a grocery run. That's how we ended up at Barbara Jo's. Every head turned when we came in- all 6 of them- three at the the “bar”, one at the grill, one in a booth, and one eager waitress. We chose the cleanest booth we could find and the service was immediate. Her first inquiry was about how we were feeling about the weather. What we thought the weather might be for the holidays. An update from the national weather service. Once we got that out of the way, we got some menus. We had about 3 minutes to peruse the menu before her return. She arrived at our table with a folding chair in hand, popped it open, took a seat, planted both elbows on the table and asked, “So, what's looking good to you folks tonight?” As we rattled off possibilities, she gave us the pros and cons on each. When I settled on pancakes she assured me I had made a wise choice. DH's choice of a platter opened a whole new line of questions- what kind of bread for the toast, how he wanted his eggs cooked, what kind of meat he wanted, if he wanted peppers or onions or tomatoes or chili on his hashbrowns.
A truck pulled in, someone announced, “there's Dennis” and she trotted off to give Dennis a proper greeting. Sort of like an old Cheers episode, as soon as he walked in every other person in the room besides us gave out a hearty, “Hi Dennis”. He wasn't there to eat, or even to get a cup of coffee, but just to check in. He helped the folks at the bar make a decision about whether or not each state's residents social security number starts with a different number- he felt they do.and then he was gone.
Christmas carols blared from a boom box at the end of the room and folks hummed along at intervals, but when Mariah Carey's All I Want for Christmas started up, Barbara at the grill, and our chatty waitress (a mother and daughter team, we had figured out) began singing in at a loud enough volume that it begged to become a singalong, and singalong it became with heads bobbing at the bar and in the booth beside us and so , I think, why not us....and in a rare uninhibited moment, I join in. When our pancakes and grits and eggs and biscuits arrive- enough for an army- our waitress admonishes us to save a little of our sausage for her, as it's really good. Barbara herself stepped away from the griddle long enough to bring the bacon and call DH sweetie baby. Sweetie Baby and I tried to go over what we had gotten the kids for Christmas, trying to be sure nothing was left undone, but Barbara was expounding on her no drinking in Barbara Jo's kitchen policy, and the man in the booth was bagging up all of his carryout food, and the boom box was loud, and we just surrendered and became a part of the crowd. Shoot, we can talk in the car on the way home. Lights twinkled in the windows and Bing Crosby was hoping for a White Christmas which brought the whole weather theme up again, and we slipped out into the cold, leaving a Christmas tip behind for our helpful server. Part of me wants to say we will NEVER go back to Barbara Jo's again, and part of me thinks it may become a Christmas tradition..