I had a date with an ophthalmologist this morning, so we drove to Sun City to Brenda’s Café for breakfast. Brenda’s is a tiny place within a tiny shopping plaza on the edge of Youngtown, serving only breakfast and lunch and closed on Saturdays and Sundays. The place was jammed with old folks chowing down, six booths, eight tables, and a counter with six stools. And every booth and table was full. But two fat old people got us just as we arrived, and we took their booth. When I say “fat old people,” I’m not exaggerating. It seems like there’s an inordinate number of oldies who are nearly double the weight they should be. Both Rosalie and I are overweight, but we’re not even close to the ones who can barely hoist their fat butts out of a chair or booth. We watched one such make her ever so slow approach to the counter where she plunked herself down beside what looked like her daughter, who was sitting there like a mountain shoveling down eggs and bacon and home fries and toast and more bacon and more home fries. I would have thought she might have trouhle removing the stool from her fat butt when she finally got up. But she didn’t, and there was no loud pop as she rose from the stool. But aside from all the obese butts, Brenda’s is maybe the friendliest place I’ve ever encountered. All the waitresses (all seniors) and Brenda seemed to know all the customers, hollering at them as they left, “See ya Monday, Charlie (or Mabel or Sis or Hank)! Merry Christmas!” And everywhere you looked were small Christmas figures that sang and danced when you squeezed their hands or punched their bellies. All over the place, one or more in each booth or on each table, propped up in various shadow boxes, sitting on the backs of the booths. There was even a four-foot Santa outside the entrance that went “Ho, Ho, Ho!” when you got near him, and then sang a Santa-like version of “Jingle Bells” as he rocked up and down in time to the jingling bells. And after a fine breakfast of coffee, eggs, home fries, a bacon strip, a sausage patty, and a biscuit downed with honey, we paid our really modest bill and waddled out to the accompanying shouts of “Thanks for comin’ and have a Merry Christmas!” Yeah, maybe the friendliest place I’ve ever seen, and you bet, Brenda, you’ll see us again.
Then on to see Dr. Eva Marie Chong. After all the preliminary eye checks, it was determined that I shouldn’t have been using Viseine’s Redness Relief drops because they restricted blood vessels in the eyes and were exactly the wrong remedy for anyone with dry eyes. Okay. Then she told me I had cataracts in both eyes, causing the burning and blurred vision I was now experiencing. I could, she told me, either ignore it and live with it or I could have cataract surgery and intraocular lens implants in both eyes. I agreed to the surgery since Rosalie had had the same procedure done with no ill effects and considerably better vision. I’m beginning to feel like a bionic man—new teeth, new eyes. Now, if I could just figure out how to get an entire new body I’d be all set.