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Hunker Down with Kes

A Fish (Almost) Out Of Water

By Kesley Colbert
Posted 11/1/22

I went to New York City.

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Hunker Down with Kes

A Fish (Almost) Out Of Water

I went to New York City.
I know what you are thinking. “Did SOMEONE have a gun at his head?” It was a family trip. My wife’s family. Now, I know what you are thinking for sure! “You’re hoping I didn’t get a’hold of that gun...”
New York City is full of folks hustling about. As far as the eye can see. In every direction! I’m not sure what an “amalgamation” of people exactly is, but I think I was looking at one! 
We were in a hotel adjacent to Times Square. I don’t know if it was uptown, downtown, East Side, Yonkers, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, or upper (or lower) Manhattan. I don’t believe we were in Hoboken.
The lobby was on the eighth floor. You ponder that for a while. Back home we’d never seen a hotel that had EIGHT floors! As a matter of fact, when you drove up to the front door of the “Do Drop Inn,” and walked through it, you were standing in the lobby!
It took twenty-five frustrating minutes to find the front desk. And then the clerk didn’t speak English. Well, I’m not sure it wasn’t English. It was so fast that I couldn’t have understood it in any language. I was marveling at his words per second rate when he finally slowed down enough for me to sort it out, “Sir, w-o-u-l-d  y-o-u  k-i-n-d-l-y  s-p-e-a-k  f-a-s-t-e-r, thereisalonglinebehindyou!”
This big-time city hotel had 14 elevators. That you could see! And I missed floor 28 going and coming so many times I lost count. If you blinked they were loading up people on the 45th floor. I was meeting a lot of nice folks, but I wasn’t getting any sleep.
We didn’t need an elevator at the “staying places” back home. For a very apparent reason.
I zipped down early the next morning to the eighth floor (remember, we are in the lobby here) to eat breakfast in one of the five dining choices. I ordered sweet tea to go with my bacon and eggs. The whole place stopped! Mia, the affable waitress, waffled into her apologetic mode, “Sir, we have Twinings Premium Black tea, Tetley Orange Pekoe, Harney & Sons Hot Cinnamon, Teavana Herbal Peach...
But no ice cold sweet tea. Lord, help us when we get north of the Mason-Dixon Line!
It took me fifteen minutes and my eggs got cold while I was explaining to Mia, and this well dressed fellow she had called over, exactly how Aunt Beatrice made sweet tea when they lived in that big house just up from Sugar Creek.  
I think this Times Square place was famous for having more pizza joints, Capital One Banks, big time theatre shows...than any other part of the city! I know it was buzzing when I walked out each morning and it was still going full bore when I called it a day. I don’t know if they turned off all those lights after bedtime or not...
I settled in on the corner of 42nd Street and 7th Avenue. And shook my head in disbelief. Growing up back home THIRD Street was as high as we went!  
These people were in such a hurry I figured if I didn’t do something they were going to wear themselves out before lunch. New Yorkers obviously were in great need of some old fashioned West Tennessee hospitality.
“Howdy.” “How y’all doing this morning?” “Good to see you.” “You’re looking chipper than a fox with a key to the henhouse.” I was laying it on pretty thick and it took a while for these folks to take notice...but they came around. And began asking where I was from. And would I say “ma’am” and “aw shucks” again, and again...
Pretty soon we had a crowd gathered up. They seemed to enjoy any story I had about Leon. They lit up when they heard the one about me and David Paschall spending the night in the Jasper jail. And they laughed their heads off when I got to telling them about having two dates in one night with the Anderson twins...
These New York folks were absolutely great when you got them slowed down a tick. They got to telling me their favorite subway nightmare. And where they were on 9/11. And everyone had a story about someone from Brooklyn.
Several of them asked when my book “about Leon and the Anderson twins” would be available.  
Stella, who had a small role in an off Broadway play, heard Cathy’s family already discussing their next trip….as always it got loud with everyone speaking at once. I saw one of Stella’s eyebrows raise so I quickly defended myself, “I’m not really in this family, I just married one of the sisters.”
Stella’s other eyebrow shot up, “You mean you had a choice”...


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