“But just between you and me …”

OK, so today my Happy Holly Project thing was to do something totally different. But my friend Texas Linda (of presidential and fireworks fame) asked me to come along for moral support as she gave her doctors note to her employer.

They fired her.

Several weeks ago when my contract ended on a project I’d been working on she had taken me to Kings … a local ice cream type restaurant. So, in true life-goes-on fashion I returned the favor.

As we were eating our meals Deb, a long-time waitress whom we had not seen in a while, came by and asked “Do you two miss George and Clay?” Now I know I’m not as young as I once was, but those names did not ring any bells for me … and I assumed that she had mistaken us for someone else.  But her uncontrolled laughter. Made me think there was something I was not remembering.

And I was right.

Linda said “I wonder if she is talking about that one time with those two older men who were hard of hearing?” and the memories all came flooding back. From a time ten years ago, in that place, with Deb as our waitress. And also the waitress for George and Clay. And I started laughing again.

Picture two men, in their seventies … maybe older … both hard of hearing … both regulars at this particular establishment. Eating lunch and holding a conversation. Loudly.

Clay was particularly fond of sharing. Secrets. And almost every sentence would start with the words “Now just between you and me …” But of course he had to speak so loudly so they could both hear … so anyone in a ten booth radius could hear what they were talking about.

This particular day Linda and I were in a great mood for one reason or another … and already had a case of the giggles. So when Clay started with “Just between you and me, my stomach is not what it used to be. This dinner here is causing me … (insert the gastrointestinal distress symptom of your choice here … he shared many) But that’s just between you and me.” … and twenty other people.

His distress for some reason struck Linda and I as incredibly funny and the more we tried to control our laughter, the worse it got. Deb agreed and was hard pressed to wait on anyone with a straight face.

Then we heard  “Now don’t tell ANYONE what I’m about to tell you. It’s a SECRET. Just between you and me. OK?” After loudly swearing George to secrecy, he continued “You know that gal who is behind the counter at the Dollar Store? Well, she is seeing Bob! And his wife, she don’t know it.”

Boy, good thing he swore George to secrecy.

At this point Linda and I were practically in tears laughing so hard. But the best was yet to come. As their lunch progressed to talk of health issues and the caring thereof Clay, totally exasperated, said in a loud voice “Well, I am grateful for the Home Nursing people who come to the house to help. But, just between you and me, that gal who came over the other day is never stepping foot in MY house again.”

Silly George. He asked why.

To which Clay replied “OK, now this goes no further, right? Well, between you and me, when she was there she actually tried to wash my …” … hmm … now this is a G rated blog …. so insert the private body part of your choosing here … think sports … you know … football, baseball, basketball.

George didn’t hear. So he asked Clay to repeat himself. He did. Oblivious to all around him. Linda and I were on the floor. Deb had to leave the area. Gags could be heard from neighboring tables.

And needless to say, the incident has lived in infamy. Ten years later, they still tell the story. As Deb did today to a new waitress. And we all laughed as she told the story, and said how they came in daily, and always spoke in loud tones starting with “Now this is just between you and me …”

When I asked how long ago it was … thinking maybe ten years ago … Deb said “I think so … Clay has been dead for over three years.”

And suddenly I was sad.

So Clay, wherever you are, just between you and me, please know that you are remembered today with a smile. And are still talked about ten years later.

Not bad for someone who keeps secrets as well as you …