The houses began to get closer together as we approached Sidney, typical of a small town. Bobby pulled up, parked in front of a quaint steel diner shaped like an old RV with a red and yellow neon sign that flashed Eat at Millie’s. Square glass tiles curved around the corners meeting the bright red roof at the top. “Here we are,” Bobby said, getting out of the car. “Millie serves the best eats south of the Mason Dixon. It’s no Varsity, but I promise Atlanta’s got nothin’ better.”
When we walked in, I felt like I was sucked into an old-fashioned movie set. The classic jukebox played Ezio Pinza’s “Some Enchanted Evening” Really? That song was way older than I was. Mother had loved South Pacific and after she died, Daddy had played the old vinyl incessantly on his antique record player. It was a perfect accent to Millie’s retro ambiance, though. Formica topped counters surrounded a soda fountain bar lined with red-leather cushioned stools on steel bases. The entire restaurant oozed with authenticity.
“Say Millie, how’s the special today?” Bobby asked the woman behind the counter.
“Bobby Reynolds, do you need to ask? Now, sit yourself down. Fried chicken just came out fresh and hot, so you and your lady friend relax in your booth, and I’ll bring out a couple of plates.”
“What a gal.” Bobby grabbed a newspaper from the bar. “And what do ya know? Today’s paper, too.” He walked over to one of the booths and sat down. “It’s pretty hard to eat standin’ up, Maddie. Come on over here and take a load off. I promise I won’t bite.”
Carefully sliding across the red cushioned seat, I looked around for a menu but couldn’t see one anywhere. I crossed my hands on the Formica tabletop. “This place must have cost a fortune to reproduce. Everything is so realistic.”
“I’m not sure, but wait till you taste Millie’s fried chicken. It’ll melt in yourmouth, and her mashed potatoes are the cat’s pajamas.”
“The cat’s pajamas, huh?” I smiled, playing along with his slang. “It smells delicious, but honestly, I don’t eat fried foods very often. The cholesterol is over the roof, and mashed potatoes destroy my waistline. Do you think I could see a menu?”
He looked at me with a perplexed stare. “Sorry, Maddie. Today’s menu is fried chicken. But I’m sure Millie would rustle up a hamburger and fries or a hotdog if you prefer.”
Before I could answer, Millie stood at the table holding two large plates filled with fried chicken and okra, mashed potatoes with gravy and hot biscuits smothered in butter. She had two huge slices of cherry pie balanced on her forearm. The aroma was amazing, but I could almost feel my arteries harden and the pounds roll onto my hips.
“You dig in. I’m gonna jazz this place up.” Bobby bounced out of the booth toward the jukebox. “Any tune you’d like to hear?” “How about some Doris Day or Ella Fitzgerald?” I replied, keeping in the retro spirit. “Oh, why not be adventurous and throw in some Lady Gaga or Taylor Swift.” He shrugged, turned, and began sifting through songs on the jukebox.
Biting into Millie’s chicken took me back to my childhood, sitting in Grandma’s kitchen, my feet swinging back and forth beneath the seat, chicken leg grasped in one hand, biscuit slathered with butter in the other. Grandma called it comfort food, when the aroma and flavor brought back wonderful memories. And the fried okra and mashed potatoes only added to the mood. I practically inhaled the first few bites promising myself that when my body healed, I’d work out extra hard to make up for my splurge. I’d just taken a big gulp of Coke when I glanced down at the newspaper Bobby had brought to the table. I read, choked, and spewed soda across the booth. He’d said today’s paper, but the date at the top of the Sidney Gazette read: Sunday, November 6, 1949.
There was one major problem Lacey encountered... she found what the definition of many words, often used as slang or sayings in her 2012 world, meant something entirely different. That's how, when she talked about Bobby with his sister, that she got the impression that Bobby was a love 'em and leave 'em kind of guy--again... Still it was apparent to everybody in the small town, that Bobby and Lacey were falling in love, even when Lacey realized what must have happened and hoped that she would find a way to go home...
Summertime is coming! Spring jonquils are out, forsythia is second to bloom in my area of Pennsylvania... Looking forward to smelling grass being mowed and new flowers appearing daily through the upcoming months...