southern something

The couple behind me, eating
in the Atlanta airport, were
discussing enthusiastically
their strong distaste for
current occupations and
the mother expresses rather
fervently a situation in
which a manager approached
her about something that she
(the mother) needed to address.
Before this conversation took
place, the mother scolded
the young child in attendance
for demonstrating an inappropriate
amount of carelessness before
arriving at the table while
there in the line to exit
the plane. The child remained
quiet throughout the adult
conversation of the workplace
and extraordinary frustration with
employers but I didn’t notice
the age of the little one until
I turned casually to find my
waitress and to my surprise,
she was barely ten years old.

As the parents carried on, the
next interruption from the
child came about what was
being referred to when
the waitress asks about
a drink in the rocks to
which the father explained
affectionately using the glass
of water in front of him as
an example of what it means
to serve a drink on the rocks.
The young one then asked about cutlery
that was lain on the tables; the
knife was the only plastic piece
on the table top. When I heard
this, I immediately thought,
Well, someone can most certainly
stab someone with a fork, in response
to the argument posed by the father
regarding federal regulations on
what can be carried on a plane.
To my pleasant surprise, the
young one rebutted with a
similar question but more
in a way that made one feel
ridiculous for not considering
such a hypothetical situation.

I couldn’t help but smile
and notice my ears perk up
when the mother began speaking
of how well the waitress had
been doing her job based on
the waitress’s affectionate
diction and agreeable service.
The waitress was a splendid
breath of fresh air but at
the same time, I couldn’t
help but feel like this
was my initial immersion
in Southern hospitality.
Oh, she did have a special
something about her though
(the waitress) in the way she
makes one feel so very welcome
in a very foreign environment.
I believe her name is something like
Tekneshia and her spirit is meant to be celebrated
after hearing the way she used her diaphragm for a brief melodic moment.

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