The place is deserted--well, it was when I arrived--an elderly couple have just walked in. Margie's is a fairly typical rural place of eating. There are chrome and brown vinyl chairs around square chrome and arborite tables and some forest green vinyl upholstered booths. A young girl serves and when she is asked if she is Margie, she says, "I wish!"
Margie's has a bit more class than some rural diners I've been to. The cinder block walls above the cheap wood panelling has a fresh coat of white on them, trimmed at the top with a strip of Fat Chef wallpaper border and tasteful framed art work hanging between country-style, fluted wall sconces. The windows are large so the place is bright and cheery and the wood laminate floors are clean and relatively new.
I could have ordered Country Ham from the one-page, laminated menuy for eight dollars, but the specials on the white board attracted my attention: BBQ Pork Steak for $4.50 including two sides. I have neer seen such sides offered anywhere: Egg Drop Soup, Mashed Potatoes (okay, that's fairly standard), Green Beans (a southern favourite, I've been told), Applesauce, Cottage Cheese, Peaches, Slaw, Beets and Fries. When I travel, I like to try new things so I ordered beets and peaches with my pork steak--not that I've never had either, but it's so unusual to find them served with a meal. The peaches are from a can--that's okay--but the beets were interesting: sliced, cold and with some sort of flavouring added. Were they pickled? I enjoyed them. It's so easy to not get enough fruit and veggies when travelling and eating in restaurants.
It's 3:00 p.m. I had planned to eat earlier but a little "tour" of Jefferson City (capital of Missouri) turned up nothing but standard fast food chains. No thank you. Linda's not going to be too happy when I show up on her doorstep in an hour or two with not much of an appetite, but it's better than arriving so hungry I'd eat anything in front of me. Besides, my eyes needed a break from driving.
US 63 south of Jefferson City is narrow, winding and hilly, providing several vantage points from which many miles of the vast valley below can be seen. In winter the view is rather barren but in the summer or fall, I think the forest of deciduous trees would be spectacular. One cool thing about winter is that with all the leaves gone, bird nests can be seen in the trees. I wonder which birds made the large ones.
The day is delightful and the bright sun in the clear sky is a warm companion. The local radio is calling the weather "bitterly cold," but compared to what I left back home yesterday, I find the weather delightful with not a snitch of snow anywhere--though I did see large icicles hanging along the side of a bluff against the road. That was cool.
My two-day drive to Cuba, Missouri is nearly over. It will be nice to see Linda again and spend the evening chatting. Maybe I'll get the chance to beat her in some board or card game. Then again, we'll probably talk so much we won't have time for a game tonight. The games will have to wait for another day. I brought my own so I have a chance at winning at least a couple games. She always beats me at online Scrabble but my time is coming. Soon.
The afternoon lull must be ending; a crowd of young teen boys just burst into the room, followed by a fatherly chaperone. Are they a sports team of some sort? It's hard to tell.
It is time for me to leave. There's a friend impatiently wondering where I am.
I'm on my way, Linda!
(Written January 15, 2009 but posted January 21, 2009 and backdated to January 15.)