I was sitting in one of the big rocking chairs at the Cracker Barrel in Berea the other day playing checkers with myself on one of those big boards with checkers nearly as big as saucers. If you’ve ever been to a Cracker Barrel restaurant, you’ve seen both the chairs and the checkerboards.
The big rockers are actually for sale, but a sign says you are welcome to sit in one. They come in handy, especially if your wife is like Loretta and likes to browse around the gift shop after eating a big meal to see if anything she doesn’t need and will never use is marked down cheap enough that she’ll buy it anyway.
Who, among wives over 60, is going to turn down a Conway Twitty’s greatest hits CD that started out at $11.99 but is on sale, today only, for 99 cents.
(After buying the CD, you get to the car and discover that you have to have a blowtorch or a very sharp cutting tool to get the wrapper off the CD and since you have neither aboard your vehicle. So there went any notion you might have had about trying to sing harmony on the way home with ole Conway as he croons out “It’s Only Make Believe.”
Six months later, you discover the CD in the glove box when you’re actually looking for a tire pressure gauge because the car seems to be pulling to the right every time you go around a left-hand curve, and you’re hoping it’s being caused by a low tire instead of something that’s going to generate a repair bill.
Now you start thinking about your sister-in-law, who used to have a mad crush on ole Conway back in the day, and you remember your wife has a birthday soon. If you steam that 99 cents sticker off the cover and give it to her as a birthday present, she’ll think you spent 12 bucks on her.)
Now back to playing checkers with myself. I was actually trying to remember a sequence of moves that checker players can use to set up a triple jump that can be executed anytime a player has the first move. I intend to teach my grandsons how to play checkers, but not before I’m absolutely sure that I’ve finally found a game at which I can whip up on them.
So I was sitting there moving the pieces around when a smart aleck friend walked over and yelled, “Howdy, Ike. Who’s winning?”
He hollered loud enough so that he could call attention of everyone else on the porch, out in the parking lot and probably some diners inside the place to the fact that I was playing myself in a game of checkers and that nobody was apt to win.
But while he was laughing at his own lame joke, a fellow who appeared to be in his mid-40s and whose name I have since forgotten walked over, introduced himself and proffered his right for a shake before asking, “Are you THE Ike Adams?”
I shook his hand and told him I was the only one I knew but that there was one who worked at Asbury College and, according to the Internet, there’s one engaged in producing pornographic movies and I assured him that I was neither of those.
He said, “Well, you surely can’t be the one that used to write for the London paper.”
I said, “Yep. I still do and as far as I know, I’m the only Ike they’ve ever had.”
He looked me over for a few seconds and said, “Wellllllllll. I had a teacher at Laurel County High School, back in the early 1980s when they just had one, who used to read your column to her class. You don’t look as old now as we thought you were over 30 years ago.”
I said, “Well thank you. I think.”