The Old Man On The Mountain

A View From the Backwoods of NH

Breakfast at Bickfords

I was watching a comedy show on Netflix recently when I was reminded of something that, to this day still makes me laugh out loud. This story happened to me when I was 19, and was something I’d never seen or experienced before or since. A group of friends and I decided to head up to Lake Winnisquam for a day of boating and swimming. There were six of us, Me, my girlfriend Tish, my buddy Dave, his girlfriend Lisa, and a couple of guys my buddy knew, Bill and Bob. Since Dave, Bill and Bob (Bill’s parents owned a summer house on Winnisquam) lived in Nashua, and the two girls and I were from MA, we decided to meet for breakfast up in Nashua before making the hour and a half trek north.

The day started out like any other nice summer day, and the trip from MA to Nashua was a quick one. Our first choice was the IHOP, but it was packed, so we ended up at the Bickford’s, which was quite busy as well (well, that and the fact that we were “kids” and therefore not entitled to the same treatment as more “mature” folks – something you can’t “prove”, but we all know when we’re being discriminated against). Not only did we have to wait a while before we were seated, the service was brutal and took almost as long as the wait for a table. Finally we got our coffee and placed our order.

We sat and talked for a while, deciding that Bill and Bob would drive up in Bob’s car, while Dave and Lisa would would ride up with me and Tish, since he knew where we were going in case we got separated. As the random chatter slowed down, I got up and bought a Sunday paper to pass the time (like I said, service was REAL slow). Finally our food came and, unlike most quality eating establishments, the silverware was laying on top of the food – I’d ordered eggs over easy, hash browns and toast – the grease that came with it was “complimentary”.

So I folded the paper, dropped it on the floor next to me, picked up my knife and fork and proceeded to begin cutting my eggs. Unfortunately, the knife was greasy and as I applied pressure, it shot from vertical to horizontal with a “clank”. Slightly startled and a bit embarrassed, I wiped it off with my one skimpy napkin and started again. That’s when I noticed Dave, sitting across from me, smiling and motioning me to lean into the table.

As I leaned forward, he whispered “keep your eye on that guy across the way – he’s going to start picking at his ear”. So I discretely began to watch as, sure enough, he stuck his finger in his ear, pulled it out, examined it, then began picking at his ear in earnest. Now, this guy was about 15 feet away, and I was amazed that Dave was so psychic as to be able to ascertain how this guy would act. The only thing I could figure was that he’d been watching him for a while.

That’s when Dave motioned me to lean in again, and with a big grin on his face explained how, when my knife slipped, it did so with such force that it shot a piece of egg yolk right across the room and squarely into the ear of the gentleman in question. This had completely escaped me and, as I looked over again, the guy was staring at his finger, a look of pure confusion on his face. At this point though, Dave and I had all we could do not to laugh out loud – you have to admit, if this didn’t happen to you, it’d be funny as hell. And it was way too late to apologize him. As I said, we were kids and “accidental” shots like that just don’t happen in real life.

So I grabbed up the paper and opened it, hiding my face inside, trying hard not to laugh and sneaking peaks around as the guy began scanning the room to see if this was “intentional” – but it wasn’t. It was just a random act caused by sloppy service at a place that’s gone from it’s location, but never from my memory. The rest of the day didn’t turn out so well, but that moment left me with an accidental incident of intense humor.