Last Friday morning I was at Shari's restaurant writing a little bit and reading my Bible when I got distracted.
He was a 50-something farmer in coveralls who looked a little like Hoss and sounded like a tobacco farmer in eastern North Carolina I met once.
He struck up a conversation with the waitress.
"You remind me of someone," he told her in his transplanted Tarheel accent. "You look like a movie star."
The waitress, though she was a pleasant looking middle-aged blonde, didn't look like any movie star I've seen. She smiled, told the man that if she were a movie star she wouldn't be working the morning shift at Shari's. She poured the man his coffee.
A few minutes later while making her rounds, the man again remarked on the waitress' celebrity appearance. This time she just muttered politely and went about her business.
Another few minutes later while she was approaching his table, the man exclaimed, "Cyndi Lauper!" He then went into a long story about seeing Cyndi Lauper opening for Cher several years ago. Actually, it must have been more than 20 years ago. The waitress' reply was non nonplus, acknowledging the man with a few forced interjections of "oh really," and "wow."
Through the surprising turn in this exchange I started thinking: What was a tranplanted North Carolinean farmer from the hills of Washington doing going to a Cyndi Lauper concert? Surely the singer of the '80s with colorful hair must have made quite the impression on this man of the soil for it to have been burned in his memory all these years. I wondered what works of other singers make up his music collection. Naturally, I had pegged his musical tastes to be that of Clint Black, Trisha Yearwood, Tanya Tucker or a plethora of other country stars who twang out tales of momma, trucks, patriotism and honky tonks. But no. Here's a man who swooned to hearing about girls wanting to have fun and true colors shining through. Perhaps he understood the deeper meaning to Cyndi's tune about the Goonies.
If I were that waitress, I would have parked myself beside this complex man and picked his brain awhile. Inside that man wearing coveralls and a ballcap was a man who was more than tractors, hay and cows.
Perhaps he even went to a Culture Club concert once.