Another snowy morning in Denver was just the excuse I needed to try my 4th Steak and Egg joint of the week: Davies' Chuck Wagon Diner. Davies' banner across the front of the joint offered steak and eggs for $5.45 and the place looked like a classic polished-metal diner circa 1957 (apparently the year it began slingin' hash)
The service was polished like the outer walls of a DeLorean and the servers' hairstyles were gravity-defying to be sure. As I sat at a small table I could not help but notice an elderly man wearing an "Armed Guard - NAVY WWII" hat sitting in a booth with a younger man I assumed was the veteran's son.
For the third time in as many days I was seated in the unenviable chair orientation that put me with my natural lean to the right staring directly into the face of the person in the booth opposite me; in this case the old man. If this picture is not already clear I will explain further. I was at a table at the lower right end of an "L" and the Navy guy was at the top end of the "L." If you remember the Pythagorean theorem he was at the apex of line segments "A" and "C" and I was at the apex of line segments "B" and "C". The distance between us would require you to know how far each of us was sitting from the wall or the lengths of line segments A and B. I couldn't give a damn about geometry really, I am simply trying to lay out the space.
I am tall and do not fit well under most tables therefore I have to take diagonal angles with my legs which naturally shifts my hips and torso to my left while my head and gaze cock to the right. As it were I had to avert my eyes not to stare at this rather frail member of "the greatest generation."
From my inadvertent glances I could however see the sailor was small in stature, definitely near 90 years of age and losing some of his precise motor skills. I wanted to listen to his conversation and found it difficult as the two dudes sitting next to me kept babbling about one of their kids' softball practice while our server kept asking them if they were going sledding and each time they would say no, while one of the guys would once again tell the server about his girl's practice. Geez, who gives a rat's ass about your kid or your broken home?
Why do so many dudes in Denver eat together and rattle on and on about snow and sports, and more snow, 4X4s, snowmobiles, blah blah. I really dislike most male conversations and I usually do not want to eat with guys because they order things like cheeseburgers with meat and cheese only (no mayo, no pickles, no mustard, nothing). Really, please go make yourself a PB&J and leave restaurants to the pros.
At about the time I was going to ask for the check and roll out of Davie's (which was really only marginal..hashbrowns were god-awful), our server came over and handed me this:
I was floored. While I was doing my best not to stare at this man, R. Watson (the old Navy guy...not the store people) was drawing this portrait of me on a napkin while talking with his son. Of course I stood up and immediately thanked him for his efforts. Mr. Watson then proceeded to tell me that he worked with Betty White for 21 years and that she was a great gal, but her face had gotten a little puffy over the years unlike his. (I love old people jokes, and I am not kidding!)
What an amazing man, and I simply had to get a photo with him as he was leaving. Mr. Watson used his cane to grab his jacket from inside the booth where he had been sitting and then used it to steady himself for his photo-op with me. I must admit I look a bit like Hemingway in the drawing with a touch of Ahab. In essence, it looks a little like me and a lot like "The Blissful Adventurer.
I have been working on a logo design for my book and my new website. Without asking or knowing it was even happening Mr R Watson on 2-11-12 had just designed one for me.
When I asked him if I could do use the drawing for my website, he said sure. He told me he was much better at drawing animals than people and I knew right then he was my guy.
I remain in awe tonight of this amazing man who has served his country and fellow-man for generations.
When I gathered my things and reached the exit, a young and attractive server noticed I had the napkin and said, "Ohhh, you got a drawing (big smile) I have several of those, he is amazing."
Yes he is, I said.