A Ronulan Tale: Cowboy Slim

Ron is a real person who dated my sister. A Ronulan is someone who possesses Ron-like qualities. A Ronduh is someone who is dumb enough to put up with them. Here’s today’s story – Happy Ronday!

It had been a long several days. My old car had died and my replacement car had started acting up with some of the same symptoms. After days of frantic phone calls, mixed messages, and a few tears, I was done. D-O-N-E. Done.

But finally my new car had been repaired and picked up, and my boyfriend and I had decided to grab dinner at the Cracker Barrel next door before heading to our homes to crash. We loved Cracker Barrel but this was not a normal night. Tonight was “Rising Star” night (evidently) – as none of our normal waitresses were on site and the folks who were there were all wearing aprons without names on them, or only 1 or 2 stars. (The more stars, the better the waitstaff, or at least the longer they had been there. New staff have “Rising Star” sewn on their aprons while they wait for their personalized aprons to arrive). One 3 star waitress was frantically overseeing the crew.

Our waiter for the evening was Cowboy Slim. He was a grizzly, lean older fellow with bowed legs like he had been riding too long in the saddle. He had a cock-eyed grin when he greeted us as if he wasn’t quite sure he understood our cityslicker English, but he was sure going to try. He took our drink order (2 waters) and then ambled off. We noticed him pushing in some chairs and straightening some tables on his way and then twenty minutes passed.

The frazzled 3-star waitress noticed us and came by in exasperation and said, “Has nobody waited on you YET?”

We let her know that someone took our order for 2 waters but that nobody had been by in quite some time. She shook her head and said, “I will get you help – I’m so, so sorry.”

Less than 2 minutes later a beautiful metrosexual black man approached our table. He was tall, lean, with a starch crispness to both his outfit and his demeanor. As he elegantly placed each water glass in front of us, he stated, “I don’t know who your waiter was before, but I am here now and I will take care of you.”

With a flourish he took out his order pad and pencil, and I just felt this wave of relief wash over me. Now things would be better.

And that’s when I spotted our Cowboy Slim sidewinding back up the aisle towards us and wrassling our beautiful waiter out of our way. “These are my folks,” he said, “I’se gots ‘em.”

Our waiter glided away with a shrug and I wanted to shout after him to come back – but it was too late. He was gone.

We placed our orders with Cowboy Slim, and when he asked us if we wanted cornbread or biscuits, I hesitated. I have celiac’s disease, so the biscuits are a no-no. But my boyfriend likes the biscuits, so usually we ask that they put my biscuits with his. Slowly, I explained to Slim that I wanted the biscuits, but on a separate plate so my boyfriend could eat them. I stressed that the biscuits can’t go on my plate, that if they touched my food it would be cross-contaminated and I wouldn’t be able to eat it.

Slim nodded his head and with a hitch in his walk headed purposefully towards the kitchen. When he finally returned, he held his tray aloft like it won first prize at the county fair. He set my plate first in front of me, and then my boyfriend’s in front of him.

Finally, he held aloft an enormous platter.

“Now, little lady,” he began. “I listened carefully to whatcha said about them biscuits not touching cuz you were allergic. So I think you will like what I have done.”

And with that he placed the platter on our table – with one biscuit in each of the 4 corners of the platter.

I looked at him out of the corner of my eye, hoping he was joking. But he was serious and plum tickled with how clever he was.

I didn’t have the heart to explain to him that pull-apart biscuits didn’t magically become non-allergic because you pulled them apart from each other. And quite frankly, it was all I could to do not to burst out laughing or crying. So I just avoided eye contact, thanked him, and waited until he left before looking at my boyfriend. And then we both started suppressing our laughter so hard, the tears ran down our face.

There are just no other words.