It’s been a long night. I stop in a Vermont truck stop to eat and take a break. Sitting at a table on the end of the diner I am struck at the mix of regular and transient guests. The tiny town is placed perfectly to receive a combination national and international traffic. On my right I hear french. Behind me in the store two men converse in rapid fire Spanish. A soccer mom brings in her daughter and teammate to sit at the counter for burgers. The smell of homemade bread and cooking bacon are pervasive. A large group comes in with the expressive hands and accents of true Irish Bostonians. The silverware clinks and plates clash. Everyone is made to feel like family by the welcoming staff, as they bustle around smiling and chatting. In the left rear corner I see the silver haired beauty who is waiting that section lean over to slap an elderly gentleman’s hand as they laugh together. The soccer girls jump up and run past me to the restrooms. A loud scream startles the crowd into silence. We all turn to see a red faced girl throwing a fit. Her mother picks her up and she squeals “No time out in the Jeep!” a very frazzled mom sweeps past me saying “Yes” the large group whom she had been a member of, sits quietly for a bit then leaves without eating. The french couple leaves and a few minutes later a male and female trucker arrive; wrapped up in getting to know one another as fast as possible. They sit shoving as much of themselves as words permit into one meal. The cook dumps an avalanche of ice in the bin. Through the door behind me a family enters two young girls in tow. The girls are dressed whimsically in partial princess, ballerina, school girl attire. The husband and wife smile at each other as the girls run to claim a booth. Along the counter I see three lone truckers; islands in the flow of traffic. They say nothing and look nowhere. Exhaustion has claimed their complete attention. The couple in front of me exclaims at a sudden rain. The elderly man at the counter checks his watch and places his hat upon it’s perch.
As fast as they all came they all leave. The rush cycles out. My sweet bespecticaled waitress asks me if I need anything and I ask for the check. Time is running short. I must hit the road but for these few moments I shared life with these few people.