Friday, February 1, 2013

Tupelo Diner

Wait till you hear what Ruby Perlman did last night.
What in tarnation she be thinkin’, I do not know.

We was working the second shift
at Woolworth's and that girl,
she stands behind the lunch counter
serving the whole Crider family dessert.
I think it was them little lemon custards
with a dollop of whipped cream on top
and a dustin’ of cinnamon.
Looked just like what Miss Margaret served
on TV last Sunday night.

So's anyway, Miss Ruby
she pours coffee for the Mister and Missus
gives ‘em cream, sugar lumps, whatever blessed thing they ask for.
One of them Crider twins spilt his milk and
the baby emptied a salt shaker on the floor,
but that ain't what set Ruby off.

Mr. Crider, he stands up
and the whole family
they leave. 

Eunice, that oughta be Miz Crider,
now don't you be telling her I using her Christian name,
she asks Mr. Crider to leave a tip or sumptin,
seeing as they left a mess,
what with creamed ‘taters slopped
down the high chair and that bratty Betty
shoving perfectly good black-eyed peas
in all them clean straws.

So's anyway, Mr. Crider, he looks at Ruby
and grunts,
then he gives his oldest boy a penny and
tells him to go leave it on the counter.

Avis, that boy,
He ain't got the sense he ‘uz born with.
He walks back to th’ counter
And drops the coin in a glass of water
sayin’ wit’ snakes in his eyes,
"here ya go, nigger."

she jes stands there looking at Avis,
then she grabs the water glass and
hustles over to the front door
squeezin' her body past the Mister
and filling up the doorframe, so's Miz Crider can't get round her.

Ruby's bosom was a heavin'.  She looking
hotter than a two-buck pistol.
She be panting, with sweat
shaking off ‘er head like a dog.

Then she says,
jes’ like that, she says,
"Mr. Crider, if'n you cain't leave me more tip than one piddlin’ cent,
then I don't want your money or your business!"

‘n she takes that glass of water
an pours it over Mr. Crider's head.
‘n she takes that coin,
pressing it on his greasy brow
so's the picture of Abra’m Lincoln
purt near branded on his forehead like he a bawlin' calf.
Not that it'll do any good, but still,
she done it.
She did. 

I swear, when they drug Miss Ruby off
all 'cuffed 'n bound
them cops prob’ly reckon
ol' Ruby gone dug her own grave.

But you mark my words, now,
that Miss Ruby,

She gonna fly.


Janice said...

Wow! That's powerful Susan, incredibly powerful.

Anonymous said...

Miss Ruby...that poem does fly
way way high!
Oh my.
Your friend,
Granny Janny