The diner was clattering with the usual din of conversations, dishes clinking and droning radio in the background. As we sat, young son and father, eating our breakfast, you could hear the dialogue at a table a few yards away.
“Gonna hafta take that tree right on out of there,” said one weathered older man. “Yep, those honeysuckles are out of hand, too. Gonna hafta get them out of there, too.”
I began to reminisce, with my captive audience furiously eating his breakfast. “You know,” I said. “I remember the day your great grandma Wilt died.” The sounds and smells of our small town diner were recalling my growing up years, sitting across from my grandmother at a tabletop much like the one we were leaning on this morning.
When we were finished with our breakfast, Grandma and young grandson, Grandma would always stash away a few extra butters, jellies and peanut butters into her purse. “You never know when you’ll need these,” she would quip.
The day I heard that my Grandma had passed away, I remember that it was raining. She was out mowing her lawn that morning, and light rain was beginning to fall. She simply fell over, and died, right in the backyard where I had played all my life. My father went to her after a phone call alerted him, and there he was, bent over his mother on the lawn, weeping and loving her more than he ever had.
When I got the news, I was just sad. I went on with my life. Little bits of legacy keep rearing their heads in my memory, triggered by an olfactory moment, a visual cue or a light sound.
As for today, an old man’s voice, the clinking of cutlery and plates, the smell of a small town diner and the banter of friends, brings it all back.