I needed to get off the highway for a while yesterday, I was feeling weary. And my boss Riff had been extra testy, I think he must have put too much starch in his underwear.
I stopped at a local diner in Tennessee, because I'd always rather have homestyle dinners cooked than fast food assembly line pasteurized processed food product. As I sat quietly and waited for my food, I heard the man in the booth across from me as he read to his son. The young boy was looking with fascination at the pictures in the book. The father said, "Now what does the duck say?"
"Meow," said the boy.
"That's right, and what does the horse say?"
"Very good. And what does the dog say?"
The little boy stopped to consider before answering. "Woof?"
"No buddy, the dog says Moo."
"Mooooooo," the boy drawled.
"Yes, that's it." The father looked up and saw I was looking their way. I quickly averted my gaze, I certainly didn't want to get sucked into this conversation, even though I so often do on the road. Weird people are drawn to me. "Hey, you got kids?"
I pretended not to notice. But he was staring at me. "Hmm? Who, me? Nope, no kids."
"That's a shame. Kids love to read."
"Keep going, Daddy,' urged his son.
"OK, OK. What does the pig say?"
"You got it!"
"No he does not!" A very large woman in the booth behind the man and boy turned around. "I can't keep quiet no longer. I can't stand hearing you mislead this boy."
"This boy is my son."
"That makes it worse. Why are you teaching him all the wrong stuff?"
"Who is to say what I'm teaching is wrong?"
The woman seemed flustered. "Well... I just... I mean it... A dog don't say moo."
"Maybe in your world."
"Maybe in every world in the universe. Mister, you are crazy."
"Listen lady, I just want to teach my son to defy expectations. Why can't a dog say moo? Because you say so?"
"No, because that's just how it is."
"Well I can't subscribe to your narrow minded way of thinking." He spun and pointed at me. "What do you think."
I held my hands up. "I have no opinion."
"Come on man, don't be afraid to take a stand."
"I'm just having a snack, no problem."
"I'd like to know what you think."
The large woman nodded. "Actually so would I. You are the deciding vote."
The waitress walked up with my food and I said, "Could I get this to go?"
The father got very determined. "Here in Tennessee, we welcome a lively debate. So I would like to hear your thoughts on child rearing and home schooling."
The big woman slapped her hand on her forehead. "Oh Lord, you're one of those home schoolers."
"Excuse me, I have to run to the restroom."
I got up and hurried off, as the father yelled, "Don't be too long, we have a lot to discuss. Hope everything comes out OK."
I stayed in the bathroom for a few minutes, then snuck up to the register to pay for my food and get going. Old McDonald may have had a farm, but I didn't feel like any animal talk or lively debating.