A Lunch at Killians

“It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn’t use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like “What about lunch?”
A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

I found this picture today as I was organizing my desk–AGAIN. It is a picture packed with memories.

It is a picture packed with memories.

The picture was taken sometime in the 1980’s. I’d recently divorced and this was the house I had to keep. I thought it was the most amazing little house on the planet. I loved this little place.

This picture was taken in the living room. The little wicker desk was my Dad’s sister, Ruby’s, and fit this space perfectly. What caught my attention today was what surrounded this desk. It was such a nice surprise, I had to share.

The macrame wall hanging and the plant hanger were gifts from my friend, Mary. When we downsized from our home in Colorado to our RV two-plus years ago, choices had to be made. These three items did not make the cut so I was so happy to find this picture.

While I smiled at the princess phone sitting on the desk and the little bottle of wine on the mantle,  I remembered a lunch date Mary and I made with each other shortly after we passed our boards. That was no small feat–we wanted to do something special.

Over the years we had shared our stories about going with our older relatives to a Tea Room for special occasions. Mary had gone with her Grandmother to the Tea Room at Killians in Cedar Rapids. I had gone with my great-aunt to the Tea Room at Brandies in Omaha. We both felt we had to have this type of experience again. So we dressed up and headed to Cedar Rapids the next day we had time off.

Cool. A road trip.

Mary picked me up and we headed to Cedar Rapids from Waterloo. It took us about two hours, arriving just in time for lunch. We did a quick pass through the store but our goal was lunch. We followed the signs to the Tea Room. There was no person to greet us–our first clue–so we found our own seats. We waited at our little table. We waited and waited.

There was one older waitress who was literally running from person to person. It was not busy–maybe three or four other people in the dining room–but she was working hard to cover a lot of square footage as quickly as she could maneuver.

This was not the Killians’ Tea Room Mary remembered and nothing like my memories of the Tea Room in Omaha. Even with the subdued lighting, we could see that the furniture was cracked and worn, the carpet threadbare, and there were none of the special touches we expected to see on the tabletops. No cloth tablecloths or napkins. No flowers. Nothing. We didn’t even see menus.

We were beginning to think we were invisible. Our waitress, whose name I remembered for a long time, would glance our way but not venture further. Maybe she thought we’d leave? Well–she did not know the two of us–we had talked about this lunch forever. We’d driven all the way down from Waterloo for this lunch. We weren’t going anywhere.

With a head shake and a loud sigh, she headed our way. Head down, arms swinging, order tablet flipping back and forth in her hand. As she got closer, she put her hand in her pocket, took out two short yellow pencils, turned her order pad around, and threw all of the above at our table.

With a tone of voice that told us not to ask any questions, she said, “Write what you want!”

We’d been watching her but were still caught off guard. Quickly, we each grabbed the different flying objects. We quickly decided it was smart to just write down something that would be fast and easy. I remember writing grilled cheese sandwich–so much for special. Whatever we had, we ate quickly and got out of there fast.

We still laugh about that day. I wish Mary was sitting here beside me so she could fill in all those details I am forgetting.

Little did we know that this was just the beginning of many years of experiences like this. Thank you, Mary, for being one of the best things that ever happened to me. God bless you.

I am…

B…simply being…

Love and peace, Y’all.

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