Mrs Rigby's

My whole life, I've been a city boy, so nothing much surprises me. Until today, though, I'd never seen a young, healthy, well-constructed woman wearing black Lycra shoulder-to-toe, hoisting herself on a rope threaded over outdoor kiddie play equipment in a public park, dangling mid-air and stretching her body into numerous interesting positions, for an hour. So far.


April 17, 2022

Legs open, arms akimbo, now the letter C, now her buttocks pointed right at me...

Some of the kids in the park, mostly young boys, aren't getting the exercise they came for, but they don't seem to mind. They're watching quietly from the grass, fascinated, apparently.

Me, I'm fifty feet away, looking out the window at the library branch. Just typing this, and watching, and doing almost nothing else.

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At my new place, four people share one toilet, so my twenty-dollar spare was one of the first things unpacked as I moved in, and it just saved my morning. If you don't have one, get one, before you need one.

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Here's a thought that smacked me this morning, as I was filling my daily AM and PM pill cases for another week.

With Mom seated beside me every night while I stayed at her house for twelve days, we often took our PM pills in the same room. Never once did I ask what pills she took and why, because that's a personal detail and I keep out of other people's personal details. At least four nights, though, Mom asked what pills I was taking, and what they were for.

We're old people, and old people take pills, but do ordinary old people tell each other all the pills they're taking and why? "None of your business," I said the first time she asked, but she kept asking.

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Hungry for some eggs and ham and toast and jam, I Googled up a list of restaurants in my new zip code. Mrs Rigby's Diner was my choice, not because of the reviews (which were lukewarm, actually) but because it looked old, like they've been making breakfast for a long time, so maybe they know what they're doing.

Mrs Rigby's is in a wooden early-era strip mall, between a bodega and a coin-op laundry. 

The parking lot is a mess — half ancient asphalt, half gravel, with potholes and perpetual mud where the rain slowly dries until it rains again. And it's Seattle, so it's not long until it rains again. But who cares about parking? There's a bus stop in front, so I'll come on the bus.

At the door a sign says, "Cash only." Inside, an air conditioner, a coffee maker, and a broken chair are piled up, waiting for repairs, or maybe a trip to the dump. Walking in, I knew instantly that a hundred thousand breakfasts have been eaten there, though there were only half a dozen customers at the moment.

It's bigger than Bob's Diner in Madison — 200 or so seats, compared to 40 at Bob's — but the counter is tiny, with only four stools. The first was taken, so I sat at the fourth one, leaving two empty stools between me and some bearded, bespectacled black man in his 40s, who was scrolling through whatever was on his phone.

Soon as I sat down, a chubby Hispanic waitress said hello to me, and asked if I wanted coffee. "Coffee, yes," I said, and she poured. She gave me a menu, and I glanced at it as a courtesy but knew what I wanted. First time breakfast anywhere, I always order the same thing: "A Denver omelet with wheat toast."

"Got it, honey," she said, and smiled, and disappeared. "Honey" is a good sign, though "babe" or "mister" are acceptable alternatives. "Goober" would be OK, too. I just want a diner that's relaxed, not the formality of "Sir."

I creamed up my coffee, took a sip, and oh yeah, it was good.

While my food cooked, I got up and strolled around the place, and didn't see a single necktie. There are a few rips in the cushions (mended with matching tape), and some of the chairs wobble, and there's an obituary posted on the wall by the cash register. Someone was missed. It made me think of The Fixture, and told me that this diner is a community, like my old diner.
There's a large magazine rack, not selling new magazines but accumulating old ones, for customers to read. Never seen that in a diner before, but I like the idea, and apparently Time magazine is still being published. I left my Smithsonian on the rack when I left.

First, though, I needed breakfast, so I settled back onto my stool, and got a hello-again nod from the other stool-eater. Read my magazine for a bit, and there was laughter from a table in the distance, but I missed whatever they were laughing about. A mom with two kids paid their bill, and then gave the waitress a hug. From behind me, someone asked someone else, "You doing anything for the weekend?" and the answer was, "Same as every weekend — the wife, the kids, and breakfast here on Sunday morning."

Then with "Here ya go," my omelet was slid before me.

"Thanks," I said, and meant it. It was gorgeous. On the TV cooking shows, they talk about 'presentation' — plating a meal so it looks yummy. Well, breakfast at Bob's Diner always tasted great, but nobody there much gave a damn what it looked like.

At this place, my omelet was trying to win the night on Top Chef. It was a perfect half-circle, fluffy, symmetrical, slightly and perfectly browned, with red and green peppers poking out, ham and onions, and a pattern of melted cheddar stripes across the top. Biting would be believing, of course — and yeah, it was yummy as it looked.

The hash browns were not the style I prefer. Mrs Rigby's serves very finely shredded potatoes, browned only on the surface, gray but hot inside. Give me a thicker shred, and more browned, please, but that said, for what they were the hash browns were dang good. Every bite tasted fine, and the tubers pretnear liquefied themselves down my throat.

Perfectly centered between the omelet and the hash browns, was a single sprig of green. Parsley, perhaps, or thyme — who the hell knows? You rarely see the green decorative leaf at the kind of restaurants I go to, but it was on the plate pretending to be food, so I ate it. Tasted slightly minty.

Also there was toast, but it was just toast. Fine, but I'm not sure what to say about toast, other than that it was hot and buttered and came with strawberry jam, which is one of my many weaknesses.

Coffee refills were offered as a question: "Would you like more coffee, hun?"

"The answer will always be yes," I said at my second refill, and after that the waitress stopped asking, but returned often to pour.

Despite the sprig, breakfast was damned swell. As my plate got lighter and shinier, the waitress asked if I wanted anything else, and yeah, I wanted everything else. The meal had been hearty, but the sign behind her said "Marionberry pie, $3."

"I don't even know what a marionberry is," I said, "but I'll try the pie."

"Do you want it heated up?" she said.

"Oh, that sounds splendid," said the fat guy who's me.

"It will be," she promised, and vanished.

There was half a minute of silence and then, "I Googled it," said the man at the other end of that very, very short counter. "Marionberry. It's some special kind of blackberry."
"Thanks, man," I said. "I like blackberries. Wasn't he also the Mayor of Washington DC?"

"Yeah," he said. "Marion Berry — he was the Mayor they caught smoking crack on video. Got sent to prison and then re-elected, I believe," and he laughed.

"God bless America," I said.

"I'm Renny," said the stranger with a big, booming voice, graying hair, and a few missing teeth — basically, my mirror image. He stuck out his hand and we shook on it.

"Hey, Renny. I'm Doug," I said, and then we talked about baseball, and the price of gas, and damned fool kids today. Mostly he talked and I listened, but it only took a few minutes, and it wasn't unpleasant.

As promised, my marionberry pie was splendid — simply the best piece of marionberry pie I've ever had. When I returned a few days later, I had another slice. Looked around for Renny, but he wasn't there.

I've returned twice, always ordering the same breakfast, and I can report that the pattern of the melted cheese atop the omelet varies, depending on the cook, I guess, or the cook's mood. Once I got cheese stripes, once cheese diamonds, and once a cheese checkerboard. What doesn't vary is that the omelet will always be excellent. The coffee too. The hash browns will be very good but the wrong recipe, so I ought to order them country style, but I forget. There's always a sprig of green centered exactly where the omelet meets the potatoes. And the toast will be toast.

The staff at Mrs Rigby's never hurries me along, so I linger over my magazine and say, "One more cup of coffee, please." It isn't quite as good as the coffee at Bob's Diner, but I've tasted lots of shitty, so-so, and occasionally good java, and the coffee at Rigby's is a close runner-up to the divine percolation Kirstin always poured.

Ah, Kirstin. Best damned waitress in America, and I'll never see her again.

At Mrs Rigby's, there are many more seats, so there are more waitresses. I've given my order to someone different each of the three times I've eaten there, so it might be a while before I can order 'the usual'.

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And now, my internet history from yesterday…  

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The IRS has a big opportunity to fix the way Americans file taxes 

There are a thousand things Biden and the Dems could do that would make voters want to say thanks and vote Democratic. Free, automated tax filing is on that list, probably in the top 100, but — will it happen? I ain't holding my breath, and neither are you.

There's big money to be made from keeping the tax system overly complicated, so people turn to H & R Block and its icky ilk. Nobody in Congress is going to mess with the H & R Block money.

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NYC lawmakers propose 'Homeless Bill of Rights' as encampment sweeps continue 

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FBI says it lacked the authority to monitor social media activity ahead of the pro-Trump insurrection, but it did exactly that during 2020 racial justice and police violence protests 

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They're shutting down Bitch 

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"Jesus loves me and my boyfriend":
How one gay-friendly town repelled homophobic protesters

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DuckDuckGo removes pirate sites and YouTube-DL from its search results 

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Staples used to be an office supply store, and I needed some 'staples' of office supply — a paper stacker like this ←, some ordinary index cards, and a box of envelopes. So I went to Staples.

They didn't have any of the above, except in overpriced and overimagined versions. Their paper stackers seemed to be designed by people who'd never used such products — held in place only by gravity, they fell apart with the slightest nudge, and cost triple the price I'd pay for plain plastic stackers that stay together.

The only index cards in the store were multi-color packs, pink and green and blue and neon yellow, $2.49 for only fifty of them. At a grocery store they're 99¢ for a hundred, and they're plain old white, which is better if you're planning to write on the index cards.

Staples had the envelopes I needed, but at double the price I paid Amazon an hour later, for half as many.

I put my plastic basket back and left Staples without buying anything, of course, just shaking my head and knowing I'll never return. Who are they selling that crap to, and at such extravagant prices?

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One-word newscast, because it's the same news every time...


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 Mystery links  — Like life itself, there’s no knowing where you’re going:


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The End
Liz Sheridan
Cranky Old Man is annoyed and complains and very occasionally offers a kindness, along with anything off the internet that's made me smile or snarl. All opinions fresh from my ass. Top illustration by Jeff Meyer. Click any image to enlarge. Comments & conversations invited.
Tip 'o the hat to All Hat No Cattle, Linden Arden, ye olde AVA, BoingBoing, Breakfast at Ralf's, Captain Hampockets, CaptCreate's Log, John the Basket, LiarTownUSA, Meme City, National Zero, Ran Prieur, Voenix Rising, and anyone else whose work I've stolen without saying thanks.
Extra special thanks to Becky Jo, Name Withheld, Dave S., and always Stephanie...


  1. Did you make any kind of "farewell" at the diner in Madison? I imagine no, just a last meal and then fade away. But I might be wrong.


    God, I remember reading Bitch when it was pretty much a zine. Or at least a sort of "fancy" zine. Shame to say goodbye.

    1. Farewell at the diner in Madison is a story I haven't told yet, but will.

      Yeah, I subscribed to Bitch when it was a zine, or maybe traded Pathetic Life for a subscription. It was good then, and still good now, and I am saddened to see it end.

  2. I'm not angry at religion. It brings some people comfort and gives others an excuse for being stupid, so at least it's functional.


    1. Gets lots of people killed, of course, but so does the internal combustion engine and heroin and war.

  3. Thanks for posting Jackie Robinson on Jackie Robinson Day. By the way, Jackie’s older brother Mack broke the Olympic 200 meter record at the 1936 Olympics. He got the silver. Jesse Owens was faster.


    1. Pretty sure they're both somewhat slower now, though. Time outruns all of us.

  4. Captain, I managed to get my picture on my email home and my email messages where I don't need it, but NOT on my blog comments where I want it. I'm not throwing in the towel because I'm still sweating this: gotta mop the brow.


    1. Actually ADD AT THE END of my step-by-step post - after the picture is uploaded and displayed like this :


      Scroll down to the bottom and click "Save Profile."

  5. Here's step by step with screenshots :

    1 - make sure the pic is on your PC's hard drive - if it's in your email, download it and remember the location.

    2 - click on your own name in the comment section

    3 - on the screen that comes up, click this button:


    4 - On the next screen, scroll down to here, click on the "From Your Computer" button, then "Choose File," and navigate to the location on your PC where the picture is


    5 - Double click on the picture. It will load, and you will have something like this :


    That should be it.

    Hope it helps.

    1. I am hoping you guys can straighten things out and make comments easier, but I'm a complainer so I also gotta state the obvious: This site is on Blogger, a Google product, and with all the money and brilliant people Google has, it ought to work better than this, sigh.

  6. Is there some subliminal messaging in your picture of Linda Carter?

    1. I gotta say, that picture makes me... feel things. And it's older than me by a year.

    2. Hell, I was 22 and if it's the one I had, hose it off before you handle it. Never saw the show, but no doubt Lynda Carter was Wonder Woman.


    3. Nothing subliminal at all. It's right there in black and white. She's a pretnear perfect specimen of female, at least on the surface.

      And John, if you never saw the show, here's a glimpse.


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