Shoney's. Big men and big women. Little old ladies with wispy curls that show their scalp. All the wives have flower-print dresses and hair with poofs and wings in it.

Dad orders the ham steak and mashed potatoes. The waitress is grumpy Sue from Poland? maybe. The way she says "macaroniches" is so great, we pretend to be deaf and make her say it three times.

"So I was watching tv and you know we got the new direct, whatsis, the system, satellite thing or whatnot, with all the numbers? So now there's more to remember and damned if I could find the evening news, all I wanted was to find out who got murdered today. But I ran across this damn thing.. whatsis . . . Beavis and Butthead, damn fools been around forever and I've tried my best to turn a deaf eye to it. Well I get to watching. And the one of em can't talk right save his life. He's all jittery, you know, like he's having an attack, and frfrbshkegsh! (snort) Well something falls off the back of a truck and they take it with them, and before you know they're in Washington and touring the White House, and there's this couple, very George and Dorothy, he's all skinny legs and big, you know, ass, and she's got this mass of crimped gray hair and she never says a thing, just twitters around nodding at all the beautiful art. And then this joker comes in and starts in talking about his . . . his BUNGHOLE! and I just sat there and laughed until I couldn't get out of the recliner."

Then he gives me a withery pink rose he grew in the front yard, and four twenties, and easter chicks made out of yeast dough except they have no eyes 'cause he ran out of raisins, and a pineapple crumbcake he keeps apologizing for. "Didn't rise enough. That damn oven. Hope you're not ashamed of your old man."

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