Yesterday morning I went to breakfast at my favorite local restaurant, Rock ‘N Robin. What started as a quiet way to get breakfast and read part of a book after a morning walk has turned into my being “a regular.”

I used to come in, sit in the far corner and read my time away. Now, many days, very little reading gets done. Civilities and hastling remarks are exchanged among Chuck, Art, Tom, Bussy, Rodney, Lois, Dave, Carol, Roger, Jim, Donald, Bill, Jeannette, Amy, Bob, John and others who  prefer Alice’s cooking to cold cereal. (And, yes, showing my age, I often call it Alice’s Restaurant).

It is not unusual for the regulars to help in the restaurant. Several of us have commanded the coffee pot when an influx catches a lone waitress/cook short-handed. Some have helped with fund-raising dinners behind the counter so the monies earned would go for the cause. 

Yesterday morning. I marveled at a the helping on a group crossword puzzle. Over an hour or so, 4 men came and contributed and questioned those proximate for answers to solve the puzzle.

As a solitary puzzle solver or game player, I bristle when unasked for help is proffered (almost 25 years of marriage and Husband still wants to contribute – it reminds me of the ancient Anacin commercials, “Mother, please! I’d rather do it myself.”)

Even while I was playing Scrabble with a friend in Vermont, a squad of friends returned from dinner to kibbutz. I was fortunate to be positioned making it very difficult for people to see my tiles. Joanne, my opponent was not so fortunate and was determined to play her own words (“Thank you very much!”.

But, Jim, Raymond and Gale were united in conquering the puzzle. 

The first question they asked Sandy, the waitress, “What Roman number is D.” Sandy wasn’t sure, but I knew, “500.” 

“Well “C’s one hundred. What’s M?”

Before Sandy could answer, I shouted, “One Thousand,” curious about them looking for a single letter for a crossword puzzle – I’ve seen two word answers, but never one.

“Muslim pilgrimage – not Mecca”

I brushed off cobwebs and said, “Adena?” (wrong, but close – Medina).

No, this has three-letters.

I’m not sure if there was a limit – 25 words or 500 calories, whichever came first – but the gentle, reflective men left the puzzle on the counter to head off to their tasks for the day as I was leaving.

I asked Raymond if they got it all.

“Naw, we have about four words to go.”

I picked the paper off the counter. Raymond pointed out one troublesome clue, “Bilbo Baggins creator.” I knew that! All the men missed was the initial J and the T of Tolkein.

I supplied the initials for J D Salinger and the three word Muslim pilgrimage ended in J so I knew it was Haj (although looking it up now, it’s 4 letters with two Js). Puzzle finished.

The gentlemen had reconvened in the parking lot for last-minute remarks.

I was left at the respect, dignity, and peacefulness of the men’s joint efforts to accomplish a task.

If only everyone’s day could start out so peacefully.