Tom Behren, Jr, Dennis T. Hernandez and Bob Lee Colwell met for lunch at Frank’s Diner located on the main drag of Shawnee Ferry, Delaware. They took their usual seats at the counter and perused the menus.
“What can I get ya?” Marge asked pulling a pencil from somewhere deep in her beehive hairdo.
“I’ll take a cup of fresh decaf,” Behren said.
“It’s left from this morning,” she replied.
“Doesn’t matter. I’m not going to drink it until dinnertime.
Hernandez checked his wristwatch. “This can’t be the right time. I must have forgotten to wind it again.”
“When was the last time your watch had the correct time?” Colwell asked.
“8:41 this morning,” Hernandez answered. “It was correct for an entire minute. By the way, does anyone know if Baxter-Holloway III and Donald Giuliani are coming? I sent them an invitation yesterday.” He pulled an envelope from his pocket. “I meant to send it.”
Wendell Blasingame ambled in and sat next to Colwell.
“Howdy, mayor,” Colwell said. “How are things going?”
“Are we having a meeting? Since I’m here, I might as well stay.”
“This is our regularly scheduled monthly meeting to discuss new business,” Hernandez answered.
“Fellows, I would appreciate your vote. I’m running for mayor,” Blasingame said as Marge poured him a cup of relatively freshly brewed coffee.
“I’m pretty sure I voted for you back in November,” Hernandez said.
“I need to think of a catchy slogan. My opponent is trying for the senior citizen votes by proclaiming he will eliminate income taxes on the elderly and asking local businesses to offer discounts on day old coffee.”
“Sorry, I’m late, but I had to close the pawnshop because of the power outage last month,” Giuliani said. “Everyone’s using their AC because of the heat wave.”
Marge filled his coffee cup just as Art, the cook, rang the bell, took a puff of his ever-present cigarette and hollered, “Dinner orders up.”
Marge set the plates of meatloaf, mashed potatoes and peas in front of the guys.
Colwell stared at his plate and got Marge’s attention. “I thought I ordered the turkey special last night.”
“You might have, but this is the special you ordered three days ago.”
“It smells mighty tasty.” Colwell reached for the salt and pepper.
Condredge Baxter-Halloway III arrived slightly out of breath, waved at the guys and sat directly in front of the glass cake stand. His mouth watered as he spied the last piece of the coconut cake Marge made the previous Wednesday. “I’ll take that,” he pointed.
Marge set the piece of cake on a plate and slid it toward Baxter-Holloway. She tossed him a steak knife and said, “You might need that to cut the cake.”
“Now that we’re all here, I made a list of items we need to take action on before we leave,” Behrens said. He pulled the list from his rear pocket, smoothed out the wrinkles, put his reading glasses on and made sure the guys were listening.
“How many items on your list?” Hernandez asked.
Behrens counted. “Five.”
“What’s number one?” Colwell asked. “I have a doctor appointment sometime this month, or was it last month.” He shrugged. “No matter. Doc Martin decided to visit his mother.”
“Didn’t his mother pass away four years ago?” Giuliani asked. “I think she voted for me. Several times.”
The guys took a sip of coffee as they tried to remember when Doc Martin’s mother died.
“Can we worry about Mrs. Martin later?” Colwell asked. “I’m supposed to get married soon.”
“Go for it,” Steve Hafey, who worked for the Delaware Highway Department, said in his raspy voice that sounded much like the truck he drove. “I have to get back to work in an hour. I was supposed to plow the main streets, but I figured the snow would have melted by now.”
“The first item on the list is,” Behrens read it and shook his head. “This is a no-brainer. Are we in favor of endorsing General Eisenhower for president?”
Everyone grunted their approval.
“He won the war. He will make a great president.”
Behren crossed it off the list.
“Number two. Club dues. I have thirty checks at home. Some are fifty years old. Someone needs to take them to the bank and deposit them in our account.”
“Do we have an account?” Colwell asked.
“I’ll get around to opening one this week,” Hernandez said.
“I’ll take them next week. I need to make a mortgage payment,” Baxter-Halloway said.
“Your house is over a hundred years old,” Behren said.
“True, and the bank sent me a letter threatening to foreclose if someone didn’t make the final payment. It was due after the war.”
“Which one?” Hafey asked.
Behren cleared his throat and said, “Number three,” He crossed it off.
“What was it?” Giuliani asked.
“Tickets for the World Series. Cubs against Detroit.”
Number four was also deemed unnecessary of discussion. It was about the Spanish flu pandemic and the pros and cons of the polio vaccine.
“Number five is the most important,” Behren said. He took a deep breath, looked at the guys and said, “I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but one of our earliest, and staunchest, supporters has passed away. We should extend our condolences to the family.”
Hernandez looked at Colwell then back to Behren. “Who?”
“Mr. Softee? The ice cream advertising guy?” Marge asked.
Hafey scratched his ear. “Isn’t he still the president of the Procrastination Club of America?”
Behren nodded. “Acting president. No one has counted the votes from the 1957 election yet.”
Giuliani sighed. “It’s true. I read it in the paper. He died in 2006.”
Baxter-Halloway waved and, with his voice cracking, shouted, “No way! He was putting off death because he was busy creating a new slogan.”
Marge turned and hollered to Art, “Cancel that order for apple pie a la mode.”