Smell the Coffee: Conversing on a train
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- While out of town recently, I was on a train seated across from two brothers from Massachusetts. One manages a Lowe's store somewhere in the Boston area.
"There's this guy who comes into my store all the time, at least once a week," said one of the brothers. "Following right behind him every time is this big, white goose. It trails along after him wherever he goes."
"That's allowed?" I asked.
"We have a sign posted outside. 'No dogs.' But nothing on geese," said the man, who paused before adding, "His name is Willard."
"And it just walks around loose?"
"The goose is loose," said the man, without even a hint of a smile. "But not always. Sometimes, when Willard is having a bad day, he'll be on a leash."
"Geese can have bad days?" I asked.
"Wonder what constitutes a bad day for a goose?"
"Being on a leash," said the main.
After the brothers left, I started talking with a couple from Chicago. As soon as they heard what state I was from, the husband got all excited. Turns out his job is one where he travels all over the country. Two or three times a year, he has to stay overnight in the Beckley area.
"Every time I'm there," he said, "I go to Giovanni's restaurant. Love that place. Been all over the country, but that's my favorite."
"The food is that good?" I asked.
"It's good enough," he said. "But look at me. It's not like I'm George Clooney, you know? I've never been memorable. Just a quiet, old guy. Someone nobody would notice. I'd just go in, eat my dinner, and leave.
"But one time, I left my ball cap there. Didn't think anything about it when I realized later that it was gone. Oh well. Just another hat. But about six months down the road, I'm back in Beckley and I walk into Giovanni's and the waiter smiles when he sees me, goes in the back and gets my ball cap.
"Your whole state is like that," he said. "Thinking of retiring there some day. Good people."
And we don't leash our geese.
Reach Karin Fuller via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.