Witness

Monday evening I was in the Atlanta airport waiting to board my 10:35 p.m. flight to Panama City Beach. I’d been in Port Byron, Illinois, since Thursday visiting my daughter and her family. I was tired and knowing that even after I landed in Panama City Beach I still had a two hour drive to reach home was making me a little cranky.

As I sat at the gate I watched a frazzled mom trying to corral two young children, a girl who looked to be four, and her younger brother. The mom was at her breaking point. The little boy kept dashing away from her while his sister wasn’t much better. The girl child wasn’t running around, but she was noisy and annoying. Selfishly my thought was, “Please, oh, please don’t let this family be seated near me!”

The mom’s last nerve frayed past the breaking point when the little boy laughed at her attempts to get him to sit still. She lashed out and spanked him, and when that didn’t work, she spanked him again. He continued laughing.

I made eye contact with a woman seated near me, but while I remained frozen, she went to the mom and patted her on the shoulder then began to speak with the little boy to take some of the pressure off of the mom. It worked beautifully. The kids calmed down, and the mom relaxed.

After the gate attendant called for pre-boarding the mom and her children left to board the plane. I made a point of thanking the woman who’d gone to their rescue when she returned to her seat. What a wonderful gift she’d given to that mom.

When my group was called I got into line and was about to scan my boarding pass when I realized the gate I’d been waiting at was 27, the one for Nashville, Tennessee! I’d been so engrossed by the drama that I almost missed my own flight at gate 29. Thankfully, I made it on time. But also thankfully, I was fortunate enough to watch a beautiful act of compassion. I was in the wrong place at the right time.

Peace, people.

(Note: I had a photo of the mom, her children, and their compassionate helper, but even though none of them were facing the camera I didn’t feel it was appropriate to share on here. I found the photo below on Pinterest in an article about a group of women who rallied around a mother under similar circumstances.)

Whistle Stop Cafe

Studly Doright bought a new old motorcycle as a gift to himself for his upcoming birthday necessitating a quick trip to Atlanta, Georgia, on Friday evening. About 50 miles outside of Atlanta I saw a billboard for the Whistle Stop Cafe, made famous in Fannie Flagg’s novel, Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe and the film, Fried Green Tomatoes. 


I’ve read the book more than once, and I’ve seen the movie enough times to be able to quote entire lines of dialogue from memory, so being something of a kid I began an earnest campaign for us to make a side trip to the cafe on our return to Doright Manor on Saturday.

“Please, oh please, oh please can we visit? I want to yell ‘Towanda!’ at the top of my lungs and eat fried green tomatoes!”

Studly, being the patient man he is grumbled something like, “Hmmmph.”

I took that to mean, “Certainly, sweetheart, whatever makes you happy!”

Of course he was driving in Atlanta traffic at the time, so my interpretation might’ve been off by a word or two.

We spent the night in Atlanta, picked up the motorcycle, which happily met Studly’s expectations, at 10 a.m., and then plugged the address for the Whistle Stop Cafe in Juliette, GA, into the GPS. 

Juliette is about 55 miles south and slightly east of Atlanta, nestled in the gently rolling farmland and forests of southeastern  Georgia. Turning into its main street felt like stepping back in time.


Studly and I arrived just in time for lunch. That’s his “new” ’72 Yamaha R5 in the photo.


For an appetizer we had the famous fried green tomatoes. So delicious!


The cafe isn’t large, so be prepared to wait for a table should you ever visit. Studly and I sat at the horseshoe shaped lunch counter. 

He had fried chicken and I ordered grilled catfish and a glass of sweet tea. Both meals were seasoned and cooked to perfection. The prices were reasonable as well.


I kept expecting Idgy and Ruth to come strolling in the door.


After lunch I wandered around main street for a bit, but I knew Studly was eager to get his purchase home to see if it would run. I did buy a brand new Brighton bag, retail price $145 that I bought for ten dollars before we started home to Doright Manor. That was my Towanda moment. Here’s Kathy Bates with hers:

https://youtu.be/lx0z9FjxP-Y

Peace, people!