- Dave Talaga
Clara and Floyd's Blind Date
A pair of retirees met for coffee, having been set up on a “date” by mutual acquaintances. They had seen pictures of the other so they would recognize their date at the coffeehouse, busier than most and which resided in a strip mall off a well-trafficked highway. There were lots of tables yet enough room to keep low-toned conversations private. Floyd purposely arrived early so he could pick out his favorite table as he'd been here occasionally. Clara arrived and studied the drink menu for a couple minutes as she had never been there. With coffee finally in hand she arrived at Floyd's table, having recognized him when she entered.
“And you must be Floyd. Nice to finally meet you.” She sat down.
“Hope they didn't tell you anything too good about me,” Floyd joked.
“They didn't tell me anything good about you.”
[C: Dang, I didn't mean that to sound like it did]
[F: What's that supposed to mean?]
“I'm sorry. That didn't come out right. I just meant I don't know that much about you,” she added.
Floyd replied, “Well, I was born and raised right around here. Been working on a farm since I was ten. Got my own farm when I was 22.”
[C: Oh great. Now I'm going to hear his life story. Didn't mean for that]
[F: Oh, oh. I can see it in her eyes. She's not interested]
“How 'bout yourself?” Floyd asked.
“Oh, I'm from here, there, everywhere. I've just about done it all but I won't talk about it.”
[C: That didn't come out right either. Made his eyes light up though]
[F: I thought they said she was a sweet old lady]
“I hear something in common is we both have grandkids,” Floyd said.
“I have four but two live in another state. I hardly ever see them,” Clara replied.
“I have three and I see them all the time. Probably too much.”
“Oh, I don't think you can ever see too much of your grandkids,” Clara commented.
“You must not have grandsons then.”
“They're ALL grandsons!”
[C: I'm already starting to feel like we don't think too much alike]
[F: Did I just see her wrinkle her nose at me?]
“Yeah, well, my grandboys are pretty wild. Sometimes happens when you grow up too close to a farm,” Floyd said.
[C: Can we forget the farm for just a minute?]
“What do you do with yourself now that you're retired then,” Clara asked.
“As little as possible,” Floyd cracked.
[F: Did she wrinkle her nose again?]
“I just putzy around the farm mostly,” he added.
[C: And again with the farm.]
“Always something needing fixing. I just take my time at it now that I'm retired,” Floyd added.
“I'm not good at fixing things. Breaking things I've gotten pretty good at though,” Clara said.
[F: Sounds like she's looking for a handyman]
Floyd said, “My problem is that I never throw things away, even the broken stuff. I figure someday I'll get around to fixing it. So I just find space for it till I get around to it.”
“Sounds like the island of misfit toys.”
There came a break in the conversation. Floyd took a big gulp of coffee. Clara sipped hers too.
[C: Don't tell me he's never seen Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer]
[F: Is she calling me a misfit?]
“Ever been on a farm before?” Floyd asked finally.
[C: If he mentions ‘farm’ one more time . . . ]
“No.” Clara said simply.
[F: If she wrinkles her nose one more time. It's lookin' like she hates farms and farmers.]
“So are you a Trump lover? I hear most farmers are,” Clara asked boldly.
Floyd chuckled. “My dad always told me it's bad manners to discuss politics at the dinner table.”
[C: Trump lover! I knew it.]
[F: She's trying to pick a fight. I knew it.]
Both took another big gulp of coffee. Floyd peeked at the clock.
“Do you have to run?” Clara asked.
“Oh no. I was just trying to remember when my doctors' appointment was.”
“You have one today?”
“Yeah. Trying to keep them from giving me more medicines I'll just forget to take.”
[C: Sounds like he's looking for a nurse]
“Well, I've been lucky so far. No prescriptions anyway. Just power-walking and an apple a day helps,” Clara said.
“Boy, looks like we don't have much in common.”
[F: If she saw my belly she knows I'm no power-walker]
“Then they say opposites attract,” Clara noted.
[C: But not this time]
[F: Not this time]
“That's true generally. We're both old anyways,” Floyd said.
[C: Ooooooo, you shouldn't have said that]
Clara took a long sip of her coffee, almost finishing it. Floyd took a long sip of his as well.
“I guess I shouldn't have said that. You look pretty young yourself. Younger than I expected anyway,” Floyd added.
[C: A backhand compliment is better than none I guess.]
“Just have an apple with your lunch like I do,” Clara said.
“Good time to buy them now. They're in season in Michigan.”
“No apples on your farm, are there?” Clara asked, though she almost winced at mentioning his farm.
“No, no. No apples, no crops, no animals. All I grow now are a few pumpkins for my grandsons to put out for Halloween.”
[C: That's nice of him. He doesn't look like a Halloween type of person]
[F: That seemed to pique her interest.]
“Big pumpkins too,” Floyd added. “I won a couple prizes at the county fair back in the day.”
“Back in the day I was making witch's hats for costumes,” Clara noted.
“No kidding,” Floyd said somewhat astonished.
“It's true. I used to dress like a witch myself for Halloween to pass out treats to the kiddies.”
“Wow. I can't see you passing for an ugly witch though. Maybe more Elizabeth Montgomery.”
[C: What a sweet compliment]
[F: This is suddenly getting interesting]
“Ever been to Salem?” Floyd asked.
“Been there twice. Bought a crystal ball at a shop in Salem.”
“No way. Still got it?”
“Oh, yes. My craft room is loaded with the spooky stuff.”
“I've got a huge collection of old-time horror movies. I watch one pretty much every week.”
[C: Maybe that friend who said we could have something in common was right]
[F: This is really getting interesting]
“I like the old Val Lewton movies. ‘ I Walked with a Zombie’ is my favorite,” Clara said.
“I sure know him. ‘Cat People's’ a good one too.”
“I watch ‘Svengoolie’ almost every week,” Clara added.
“I tape it on my DVR so I can watch it without the commercials.”
Clara almost took the last sip of her coffee but changed her mind and put it down.
“What's your favorite old horror movie?” she asked.
“Since I'm cheap, I like the old Roger Corman stuff. He was cheap too, you know.”
“The ones with Vincent Price?” Clara asked.
[F: She really knows her stuff]
[C: Do I see a twinkle in his eye?]
“They're okay,” said Floyd. “I like the monster ones better. ‘Wasp Woman,’ ‘The Day the World Ended.’ Those are kind of my favorites.”
“Anything in black and white. Those bring me back to my childhood watching ‘Theatre of Thrills’ with my older brothers.”
“Well, you should come over some time. We'll have sandwiches and watch ‘Attack of the Crab Monsters,’ ” Floyd invited.
“I could check out your pumpkins.”
“And you could bring your crystal ball.”
“And since it's Roger Corman we'll have cheap sandwiches.”
“Peanut butter and jelly.”
They both smiled as they took a final sip of their drinks.
“Would you like me to get you a refill, Clara?”