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Thursday, December 19, 2013

"My Name's Georgia… I Guess I Got The South Pretty Well Covered!"

A pencil sketch I did from my clamshell cell phone!
About one year ago, my wife and I had a nice experience with a waitress at a local Cracker Barrel. So often, waiters and waitresses just go through the motions with their customers rarely looking them in the eye as the serve. I guess it is a defense mechanism in the school of hard knocks, meager tips, and a management attitude of get 'em in, serve 'em and get 'em out.

But, that's not me!

I like to linger after a meal, be it breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner. When I go out to eat, expensive as it is now getting, I want the whole experience which includes a thousand cups of coffee and conversing with… well, just about anyone. Unlike many New Orleanians who won't tolerate medicare grub, I will… as long as the coffee is flowing and I'm not eating with plastic ware.

"You are amazing," my sister once told me. "You'll speak to anyone!"

My wife, who is not one to linger for too long after eating, and would prefer to go shop while I suck my teeth, and bump my gums with people, concurs. But, she's learn to make the adjustment. Sometimes, she'll get in the car and go drive to shop, occasionally calling me on the cellphone to see if I'm finished… "eating".

And if I have my sketchbook, it is a "linger-a-thon,"which brings me back to this diminutive, white haired waitress with a quick, endearing smile that simultaneously hints at the mischievous. She doesn't stop moving, but is always ready to converse as she attends to your needs. On many visits, with my mom or my wife, I have attempted to capture the ever moving server with pen or pencil in hand, but not with any useful success.

Anyway, about a year ago, while being served, I asked about her name which is written across her apron. I suppose if you are employed at the Cracker Barrel for more than a few months, you get one of these personalized aprons. I assume youngsters working there don't stay long enough to earn one.

"Georgia," I say, as I read it from the apron…"That's a pretty name, is that where you're from?"

In a southern and mumbled drawl that is reminiscent of the Tex Avery cartoon character, "Droopy," she fills my coffee cup, peers over the top of her thick rimmed glasses with an impish grin and replies…

"I was born in Mississippi, went to school in Alabama, live and work in Louisiana, vacation in Florida and my name is Georgia. I guess I got the South pretty well covered!"

The other day, after my fasting mother had some blood tests taken, I took her to the Cracker Barrel and requested Georgia. As the meal when on, I inquired more about her life. Her full name is Georgia Wood and she graduated from the University of Alabama ( she would not tell me what year, which would have given me an idea of her age, and she's not sure Nick Saban is gonna stay, but Roll Tide! )

Georgia came to Louisiana to take care of her aging mother and just decided to stay. She told me where she vacations in Florida, probably to visit her children, but I forgot where that was. She's been employed there at the Cracker Barrel in Covington, LA for over three years.

"Hey Georgia, tell my mom about your background," I asked, trying to keep my mom engaged and entertained.

Georgia proudly repeats like it was her own personal "elevator speech,"

And, it is…

Copyright 2013/ Ben Bensen III