Last night, I was looking at a book of Norman Rockwell paintings, and I saw several that sparked my imagination; I felt kind of like I could write some kind of story for them. For each one, I mean.
Today, I wrote a short story for this picture.
Today, I wrote a short story for this picture.
|This picture is called Saying Grace.|
I call the story Durant Diner, and here it is. I think I might post a story with a Norman Rockwell picture on here once a week, if I can.
It was the only place where we could eat before we got back on the train, but I wished we could just stay on the train and starve. Grandmother took my hand and walked with a determined manner towards the door of the small diner on the first street in Durant.
I went through the door and held it open for her, then looked around at the tables. Other passengers from the train were in there, too. The two college men were sitting at a table by the front window, the one smoking a cigarette and drinking coffee at the same time.
“We would like a table for the two of us, please,” grandmother said to the seating lady.
“Do you mind sharing a table with other people? There aren’t any two seaters available at the moment,” the lady said, sounding sorry and hesitant.
Grandmother shook her head and smiled. “That’s fine.”
We followed the lady towards the table at which the two college men were seated. I held back, dreading sitting with them and having our meal in front of them. Praying in front of them was what I dreaded most. Grandmother would insist. I never minded when we were alone, but grandmother didn’t just save prayer for in our house. She prayed before a meal no matter where she was.
I pulled out grandmother's chair for her as the lady put two menus on the table next to the glass holder on which rested several salad dressings. The smoking college man smiled at me and put down his coffee cup. There was a brown stain on his cigarette, but his lips were clean; he hadn’t received a coffee mustache from his drink.
“What would you like to eat, Willy?” grandmother asked me, handing me my menu and setting her umbrella on top of her bags on the floor.
“Um, may I have some soup?” I asked, glancing at the smoking man’s friend, who was still looking at his menu.
Grandmother nodded her agreement and looked at her own menu. I pulled off my coat and hat and dropped the hat on top of our things piled on the floor, and laid my coat behind me on the chair. Only one of the college men was wearing a hat; the other's blonde hair was smoothly combed to one side as if he had never even got his hair mussy when he slept.
After we ordered, I leaned towards grandmother. “Do you have to pray before our meal?”
She looked at me carefully. “Yes, Willy.” Then she sat back and smiled at the smoking college man. “What college do you attend?” she asked.
“Southeastern Oklahoma College, ma’am,” the young man said, taking his cigarette out of his mouth for a second so her could speak coherently.
“We’ve been on a short break,” the blonde man said, still trying to figure out what he should order from his menu.
Grandmother nodded, then turned to watched as a small girl passed by with her mother. The smoking man handed the blonde man a cigarette and put his own back in his mouth.
“Here is your meal,” a waitress said to us, coming up and putting two trays on the table in front of grandmother and me.
“Thank you very much,” grandmother said, then looked at me. “Willy, let’s pray.”
The men looked at us both, and I bowed my head and folded my hands, feeling very huge and very small at once. I looked at grandmother before I closed my eyes. She bent her head and folded her hands, holding them above her soup bowl.
I was about to close my eyes when I big man came through the door and walked towards the two college men. As I snapped my eyes closed, he cried out, “Ian!” Then he stopped talking. I squinted at him, and saw him standing frozen a few feet behind the blonde man’s chair, holding his hat and looked embarrassed. The two college men were staring at us, the blonde one holding his cigarette between his fingers.
I closed my eyes and waited fro grandmother to begin her prayer.
“Dear Lord, thank you for our meal here, and please bring us safely to our destination with no trouble. Thank you for our fellow table occupants, and please bless us all the rest of this day, In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”
I opened my eyes and looked at the two men. They were both now staring at their cigarettes, and the man who had come in was still standing behind the blonde’s chair.
I looked over at grandmother and smiled, wishing I hadn’t been scared. Praying hadn’t been so bad, and the man hadn’t interrupted us or mocked or anything. They looked very quiet, as if afraid to break the hush that had come over our part of the diner.
Grandmother smiled, then picked up her spoon and began to eat her soup. I took mine and did the same.