Well … Oklahoma tea - And it didn't exactly reach the Jed Clampett level. Still, I pretty much struck a form of gold this morning. Of course, it’s going take some time to see if anything actually comes of it.
Compared to Irving, TX, my hotel here is situated in a different type of neighborhood. It took a little more investigation to map out an enjoyable morning walk route. Yesterday I walked up the street and to the left finding a nice, quiet residential area. But this morning I decided to turn right where I found mostly shopping centers. Still, it was fun hunting around, seeing what's close by if I ever need something and don't want to take the car. I found a barbershop, for instance, since I'm thinking it's getting close to my first road haircut. And there was even a little hat shop next door, just in case the $8.00 haircut doesn't work out quite as planned. On the way out on the walk, I passed a small, one-story building with a sign outside, "Ray's Cafe."
When I headed back to the hotel, I noticed the "Ray's Cafe" sign again and figured, "What the hell?"
As I headed up the walkway, I met a group of five women, mostly elderly, walking in the side door. One much older woman, using a walker, was having trouble getting through the door and her friend smiled, motioning for me to go around them.
"You can take the fast track around" she laughed, pointing to the side.
"What's the rush?" I smiled, reached out and held the door as the others walked in. The younger woman smiled, followed by the elderly woman, hunched over as she walked. She tilted her head to the right and up, then thanked me.
I looked around. A simple coffee shop/diner about half filled with quiet Oklahomans. It didn't take me two seconds to notice that about 99% of the customers were older. I smiled, wiping the drool from my lip, then picked a booth in the corner, grabbing a copy of "The Oklahoman" as I sat down.
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A Long-Time Fantasy - Whenever I thought about taking this trip, I often visualized scenes like this morning's, when I entered Rays: a diner serving great food at reasonable prices, filled with older people to meet and spend time with. Actually, the fantasy involves more of a roadside diner out in the middle of the desert or some vast green farmland. Still, the diner part of it was on the money this morning.
"You've pretty much hit the jackpot," a pretty blond waitress wearing blues jeans smiled as she refilled my cup of decaf. "Look around," she added, waving her right arm. Her name is Angela and I had a chance to tell her about Eldercation as the traffic slowed down a bit.
I finished my home fries (great home fries, by the way), eggs and whole wheat toast and Angela mentioned some names of locals who come into Ray's for breakfast just about every day. I told her my hotel was about 250 yards down the road. "Know the place," she smiled. "Want us to keep the booth set up for you?" We laughed and I went up front to pay my check. All three of the waitresses were in the kitchen area to the left and Angela had filled them in about the project. We chatted for awhile and it appeared my Oklahoma "recruiting staff" was now in place.
And ... that was that. We'll see how it pans out. At the very least I know I have a great and inexpensive place to eat over the next two weeks and it's only about outfield throw from the hotel. Judging from the folks I saw eating there this morning... Let's just say I hope this translates into something special.