Friday, May 25, 2018

Al Meets Rose, Free Gumbo

Sixty miles down the coastal roadway they spotted a road sign that captured their attention.  Sarah said, “I’ve been down this road dozens of times and I have never seen that sign before.” Al replied, “Well, it looks as if it has been there for years and years. Let’s go and see what the place is like.”

The sign was easy to read, “Food - Best on Road”. Al pulled the car onto the parking lot of gravel and potholes. The place was rundown and in need of paint and a few repairs. Holding Sarah’s hand the front steps creaked and sagged under their step. As he opened the flimsy front screen door, it creaked, and the spring twanged as it pulled the door shut behind them.

            Glancing around, Al shrugged his shoulders as if he was asking Sarah if she wanted to stay. Just seconds after the door slammed they heard, “Just have a seat you two and I’ll be right with ya.” With a grin, Sarah took a couple of steps and sat at a window table.  A puzzled look crossed their faces. With a whisper he asked, “How did she know it was just the two of us?”
A  rotund black woman came out of the back room. Her smile filled her face as she said, “Well hello. How are you two love birds doing this glorious evening?  You can't hide love from Rose. I've seen it a million times, maybe more.” Al thought she was being far to forward and inconsiderate. Rose's next sentence made his jaw drop. With a hand on her hip she said with attitude, “Yea I know you think I'm rude and forward. Well, I guess I am forward. Now, this is the best place to eat along this road for miles.”

            Recovered, Al asked, “So how’s the gumbo?” Rose’s reply was short, “It’ll be the best gumbo you ever had, or it’s free.”  Al looked over at Sarah and asked her, “Are you up to trying the free gumbo?” Sarah smiled, getting the jab, “Sure I’ll try the free gumbo.”  Rose turned with a chuckle, “Free gumbo, when they get done they’ll be willing to pay twice. Free gumbo, I’ll give’ em free gumbo.”

As they sat waiting Al said, “Look around this place. It is an absolute mess. These tables and chairs must be forty or fifty years old.” As he finished, Rose came out with two large bowls and set them on the table. Standing next to Al she said, “So, my place looks dumpy. Yea the tables and chairs are close to fifty years old. But you know what? Folks don’t come in here to eat my tables and chairs.”

Reaching over and putting her hand on Sarah’s shoulder she smiled and said, “If it is too spicy put a tad of sour cream on your bread, and take a bite of the bread as you eat the gumbo.” Sarah took her first spoonful and the look on her face was priceless. Gasping, she said, “I think I’ll try the sour cream.”

With those whispered words, Al and Rose took too laughing. Al laughed for a few seconds, his eyes never leaving Sarah. Rose was laughing to the point of tears.  After trying the sour cream Sarah said, “It works. Thanks.” To which Rose responded, “Can’t have you not liking my gumbo, now can I?” With that said she let out another laugh and turned to the kitchen.

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