For years Rockys Diner had always done a great business
for breakfast and lunch but his dinner business had fallen off recently as
folks moved to the suburbs, got married, died or simply went elsewhere to eat.
He thought about closing early but he had a small cadre of elderly men, many of
whom had been his customers for two or three meals a day, and Rocky didnt
know where else they might go to eat. They were all single now for different
reasonsdivorced, widowed, never married or deserted by a wife who had
become fed up. Most were in their late 70s and early 80s and not renowned for
their civility. They were a crotchety bunch but Rocky liked them all. He
himself was in his late 60s, happily married, and didnt have to worry
about money, thanks in large part to loyal customers like these elderly men,
some of whom had been eating at his diner for decades.
Many of them would arrive for dinner - or supper, as most of
them called it - at 6 p.m., their unofficial appointed hour for the last meal
of the day, and depending on their mood, they would either take a stool alone
at the counter or pile into one of the red vinyl booths. In a booth, they hoped
to be joined by others who might also have spent the day alone, watching
television, reading the obituaries or maybe playing solitaire.
Conversation in the booths ran the gamut from politics to
religion to dead wives and ex-wives to girls they should have or shouldnt
have married. Occasionally, the conversation in one booth would be joined by
those in the booth behind, in front of or across from that particular booth. If
the weather was good, sometimes the conversation would spill out onto the
street afterward where, weather permitting, the men would gather around a
parking meter and continue their caucus.
It was on just such an evening in spring while the caucus at the
parking meter was in full swing that an attractive young lady walked by, heels
clicking, skirt swaying, and all of the men paused and assessed her with
murmurs of appreciation. She was, they all agreed, a very nice young lady.
I remember years ago dating a girl like that, said
Harry, and she gave me nothing but heartache. Back then, youd have
to marry them. They didnt give it away. Thank God I married Mildred
instead. She caused me no heartache and I hope to God shes enjoying
heaven. Shes been there for about 10 years now. I still miss her oxtail
Truth be told, Harry may have been the only one at the parking
meter who had been happily married. Three of them had gone through difficult
divorces decades ago and still cursed their former wives when their aches and
pains were worse than usual. Another man had lived through a tortuous marriage
but for religious reasons never considered divorce. His wife finally died and
he forced himself to go to the funeral. There was also a bachelor in the group,
78 years old, who prided himself on the number of women he had sampled over the
years without ever buying the cake.
Im glad I never married, said Jimbo. I
enjoyed most of the women I dated and they seemed to enjoy me but I never found
one I wanted to spend my life with, though it was difficult at times to fight
them off. Every one of them wanted to get married. Dont let a woman tell
you size doesnt matter. Im proof positive it does.
Most of the other men over the years had heard Jimbos
tales of sexual prowess and they didnt want to get him started again. But
Clarence was relatively new to the group and had always wondered if it was his
limitations as a lover that had caused his problems. He wondered what Jimbo had
that he didnt. His wife had never complained about their love-making but
she may have been too busy complaining about everything else. So he decided to
ask Jimbo why he had it so good.
Jimbo, you mean all those women wanted to marry you
because of the size of it. Im not small but what are we talking about
here, 12 inches?
Clarence, I dont want to brag but I remember one
woman who insisted I do something to make certain that when we went out, no one
would notice if I had a spontaneous reaction. She was afraid if I saw another
attractive woman, it might pop up and everyone in the restaurant would notice.
So to make her happy I taped it all the way down my leg and stuck the head of
it in my sock. I always wore socks with an elastic band as an extra precaution.
I wanted to make sure nothing inappropriate happened. I almost married that
woman because she was better than the others at taking off the tape when we got
The other men had all heard Jimbos story before and kept a
straight face while he told it because they wanted to see Clarences
reaction. They were more than a little surprised when he finally spoke.
I hope it wasnt duct tape, Jimbo, he said,
because that would have hurt like hell when she pulled it off.