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Big doins' at the Golden Rule Cafe

2Joe reckoned Bill was right, but asked: "What are you driving at?"

Bill took another sip and stared around the coffee group. "Well," he said, "there's the case of Sen. John McCain. He's one of the worst. He's a gadfly who always wants to start a war. He and Lindsey Graham buzz around, criticizing the president, and now McCain wants to fight Syria. There's no end to the wars he wants to fight."

Joe came to McCain's defense: "Well, he's a war hero so maybe he knows all about it."

"Not on your life," Old Bill rejoined. "He was a hero in a prison camp, all right, but he got there because he was shot down on a bombing raid over Hanoi. He also crashed three planes in flying school."

Bill seemed to have won that round, so they subsided into silence and studied the coffee in their cups as if searching for inspiration. Soon Joe swung into action again.

"When the president's black helicopters come to take your guns away, you won't have any way to fight off the National Guard," he proclaimed. "You'll find out quick enough that a well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, is a bunch of fine talk, but you'll learn that the right of the people to keep and bear arms can damned well be infringed."

That caused an uproar in the Golden Rule Cafe. Joe yelled that we couldn't go around shooting National Guardsmen, and Jim chimed in with "That'd be treason!" Whereupon, Old Bill told everyone to shut up, and the fracas subsided. Looking around the quiet restaurant, Old Bill sipped coffee, blinked thoughtfully, and lapsed into a soliloquy.

"I can't understand your thinking," he began. "There hain't no black helicopters and nobody's coming for anything. That's just something that the NRA big-wigs invented to stir up the little people. Besides, you can keep calling the President a Nazi and a Communist till hell freezes over and he ain't gonna do it. He probably knows that you guys is such poor shots that you need an automatic assault rifle to even kill a deer."

That brought the house down again, and several angry fists were shaken. But nobody there could fight anyway, and they all knew it.

"I guess everybody thinks that he's a Minute-Man," Joe mused. "You know, that patriotic notion that every man should drop his plow, and grab his muzzle-loader, and help George Washington whip the British."

"But it took a full minute or more to re-load your muzzle-loader," Bill rejoined, "and you couldn't re-load at all if you lost your ramrod. What I'd like to do is bring our troops home from Afghanistan right now 'n then replace them with those fellers who like assault rifles so much. Them guys would soon lose their stomach for war and their stomach for assault weapons too."

And thus the gathering ended at the Golden Rule Cafe. Opinions were aired but nobody knows who was right and they didn't do anything. Just another example of the freedom that everyone seems hell bent to fight for.

Darrel Miller lives near Downs in rural Osborne County and is a retired weekly newspaper editor.