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Not ripe for high society

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By Don White

Some people just aren’t cut out for high society.I reckon I must be one of ‘em.Just the other day, my good friend Dwain and I decided to get a cup of coffee in Lexington.I’m not a coffee drinker. What I really wanted was a Big Red or a Hires Root Beer, but I thought the cultured thing for us country boys to do was to get a cup of coffee.Dwain suggested we stop at Frisch’s, but I quickly talked him out of it. I endured a horrible experience at a Frisch’s a few years ago.When I entered the restaurant, a little boy (must have been all of 3 or 4 years old), started screaming his head off.His parents and several employees finally got him calmed down enough to find out what had caused the sudden outburst. He pointed toward me saying — ”Big Boy, Big Boy.” His parents told me their little darling thought the giant plastic fixture outside the eatery had come to life.That was a few years ago, but I haven’t gone near a Frisch’s since, and never again wore my red and white checked shirt beyond the backyard.In an attempt to expand our minds while getting a cup of coffee too, I suggested we go to the big and fancy Joseph Beth Bookstore in Lexington Green.In case you aren’t aware of this place, it’s a kind of high brow store where you can sit in stuffed chairs, read all day, and nobody runs you off.Sort of like a public library with price tags attached to the books.I should have known I was where I shouldn’t be when a smart aleck clerk directed me to the adult magazine section before I even had time to ask.The bookstore has a little eating area in one corner. We walked in there, and right away, I felt out of place.Nearly all the men had white beards, gray tweed sport coats with patches on the elbows and shoes that had to sell for well more than $30.I think there may have been some women in there, too, but it was hard to tell.Dwain ordered an expresso as if he knew what he was doing, so I did the same thing.Since it was $3.25 per cup, I was having thoughts of getting something with maybe gobs of whipped cream, or at the very least, a bunch of soft marshmallows in it.Instead, the waitress brought out two tiny cups containing maybe four thimbles-full of some kind of liquid.I asked Dwain what we were supposed to do.He didn’t have a clue.I asked him why he ordered expresso.He said he had seen lots of intelligent-looking people order it, so it seemed like a cool thing to do.We tasted it. It wasn’t good.There was nothing on the table to add except sugar.So we did.It didn’t help.Dwain said he’d pay the bill if I’d lie and tell the cashier how much we liked the awful stuff.From there we went to Shoney’s.As the only big boy in the place, I sipped my coffee in peace.

Columnist Don White has served as editor at several Kentucky newspapers. His Kentucky Traveler features are published throughout the state. Contact him at dwhite@thekytraveler.com. The views expressed in this column are those of the writer.