The phone showed the incoming call was from area code 646, which is Manhattan. My answer was a brusque hello, because this was someone I didn’t know. A young man’s voice fumbled a bit and asked for Grandpa. I knew it was not David or Nathaniel. Even under stress, that voice did not belong to either of my grandsons. Immediately I thought of an article I read in the past week about phone scams targeting older people. Playing for time, I said I’d get Grandpa. I took the phone to John and was able to tell him I didn’t think the call was legit. John listened as the person began to explain that his friend’s mother died, and he was at the funeral in Manhattan. He said, “I think you have the wrong number.” The phone went dead. Bingo! It was the beginning of a scam call.
I told John about the article, which said a call will come from a grandchild who is caught in some bad situation and begs you to wire money to him/her. Well, our call didn’t get that far. How I wish I could remember all the points I’d read. One is that you can ask a question of the caller that only your grandchild would know. A second is to hang up and call your relative, which is what we did. John phoned Nathaniel and chatted a bit about what he had done during the day. The answer was that he prepared Eggs Benedict in class, and he sent us a photo of it. [Nathaniel said they made the English muffins a day or so earlier and put together the dish today. His recipe for Hollandaise sauce called for twice as many egg yolks as mine, making it very thick.] I texted David and got a quick reply, so we knew he was fine. I will keep reading the old folks’ magazine to try to stay ahead of current con games.
Breakfast was a fun and delicious meal. We were between appointments in neighboring towns and ate at the Paper Town Grill. I had seen it often, driving by this storefront restaurant that stated they served breakfast all day. Shortly after we sat down, the tables filled with older people who were regulars. One woman left her seat and picked up two jam packets near the kitchen door, because she knew where they were kept. The waitress apologized for her forgetfulness. I listened to the accents, all local. I hope to be able to define town mountain talk some day. The accent is lightly Southern, but there is a twist to it that people in the middle of the state don’t have. Rural mountain speech is different altogether, twangy and nasal, sprinkled with words you’ve never heard before.
John noticed two bulletin boards on the wall behind me. One was titled “In Memory of” and the other, “Guess Who?” The memory board had photos and obituaries. The guessing board held children’s photos that had to be of adult patrons. This was the real deal, a place where people’s lives were bound together in life and death. Nobody glared at us, so I presume we didn’t take anyone’s regular table.
John ate an omelet which was light, fluffy, and cheesy. My sausage, eggs, and French toast were excellent. John said he’d be willing to go back there any time. I would like a repeat, too, to try Southern things like biscuits with gravy or a bowl of grits. You can tell a lot about a place by their grits.