straight faced kindness
January 27, 2015 - single portrait
when i stepped into “fat freddy’s” bar and diner in jackson, california, by noon it was dark inside. only a few figures at the bar were drinking beer. nobody seemed to notice me. but as soon as i seated myself and studied the menue the barman slowly went to the end of the counter, grabbed a large and heavy folder and came over to my table. he placed the folder in front of me without any word or telling facial expression. he slowly went back behind the bar near the window and started observing the street again. i opened the folder which was old and dirty. it was filled with postcards from customers all over the world. i found a couple from germany, england, france, nearly every state of the u.s., a bunch from all around asia, even one from singapore. i looked through the whole folder, read what people had written on them. they sent greetings from their homes, told about their travels and good memories of fat freddy’s and the tasty chilli dog or sausages they had. i ordered fries and diet coke from an elder woman named debbie. after i had finished my lunch and debbie poured me another coke, carlos slowly came over again, took the folder and asked me where i was from and what i am doing in the u.s. he wanted me to send a postcard from my home and i agreed. when i asked him if debbie was his wife he made a phew-sound: “god thanks, no. never been married, too much trouble.” i took my chance and asked him for a picture. after his face was all straight so far he started to smile and placed himself behind the bar, the place he probably spends most of his remaining lifetime i assume.