OpinionJune 26, 2024
Join a nostalgic journey through small-town coffee shops and watering holes, where local wisdom, fishing tips and charming waitresses create a world brimming with character and camaraderie.
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Courtesy of Tom Runnels Publications
Tom Runnels
Tom Runnels

I always told everybody when I was goin’ to high school that when I grew up, I was goin’ to swing a wide loop and make a big circle.

Well, I ain’t growed up yet but I’ve sure made the big circle.

I just got back from Corning, Arkansas, and I’m here to tell you, that’s world travelin'!

I even swung out to Doniphan to see Rose on the way.

You see, I’ve picked up lots of new advisors in lots of new coffee shops and waterin’ holes, and have to swing my wide loop to gather up valuable information.

You know, the heavy stuff, like where all the hot fishin’ spots are, and what they’re hittin’ on. And, who’s got the best coonhounds, and what’s the latest poop in the business.

Everything from bird watchin’ and wildflowers to rattle snakes and ginseng. Man, I get it all.

Anyhow, while I’m about collectin’ all them smarts at these stops, I notices the nice gals that bring me liquids. Now, you take for instance Rose at Finch’s Drug Store in Doniphan.

Why, a sweeter lady a feller never met. She writes me a letter ever once in a while, and she always throws in a stick of Big Red chewin’ gum.

Not that I can do much with it, what with these ol’ plastic grinners of mine, but it sure is nice of her. I always think of her as Big Red Rose.

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Then there is this little waitress named Jennifer at Papa D’s in the Bluff. Now there’s another dandy, too! It didn’t take long to read her ear marks.

Shucks, all them ol’ hairy-legged boys around there couldn’t start their day unless they joshed around with Jenny whilst getting’ their morning coffee.

I even met her coon-huntin’ ol’ man, and he shot a load into me about them ol’ treein’ walkers he’s so proud of.

My, the list could go on almost forever of the people who put up with me, and seem pleased to do it I'm proud to add. These people are my heroes.

I can tell a feller one thing. I ain’t never run one of these stops, but I know one thing. You ain’t goin’ to have much business if you ain’t got those pretty gals pullin’ your leg whilst you’re tankin’ up.

Don’t you feel kinda sorry for them folks in the big camps that don’t have the big round tables in the local coffee shops, with two or three ashtrays overflowin’, stacks of coffee cups, and a bunch of ol’ wind-jammers soakin’ up smarts every mornin’?

If any of ‘em ever stop by the Cat Ranch when they’re swingin’ their wide loop, I’ll run ‘em over to Ruby’s and show ‘em what I’m talkin’ about.

Them gals over there ain’t shabby, and can sure throw the jokes, along with some mighty good hash at you that you sure can live with.

Then you’ll know what I’m talkin’ about.

COURTESY of Tom Runnels Publications. Copyrighted and registered by Tom Runnels and Saundra Runnels Revocable Trust. Printed in The Banner Press: June 2, 1988.

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