Portraits – Mr. Johnny

Among the regulars of our restaurant, there is one that you might be able to call the “mayor” of the little community of consistent customers that come in every morning. His name is Mr. Johnny. He’s in his fifties, and everyone knows Mr. Johnny. He’s been coming to our store almost every day for a very long time. Maybe since it opened.

Everyone that works behind the counter knows him on a first name basis, and he knows the first name of most of the day-shift crew. In fact, the guys that work in the kitchen know his name also, and how he likes his food prepared. (Usually toast and sausage.) He knows most everyone that comes in regularly at that time of day, and they know him. He is as much a part of our store as the pictures on the wall and the lights in the ceiling.

Mr. Johnny loves to laugh and joke. He hardly ever comes in without a smile. Whether that is because he enjoys our store so much, or because he is trying to bless and encourage us, I do not know. But he always has a joke to tell, or sees the funny or bright side of most things.

That doesn’t mean he doesn’t get angry or upset sometimes. There are a couple guys that he talks with sometimes that occasionally will get a rise out of him. But on the whole Mr. Johnny just has an easy-going, take it as it comes attitude toward life.

He never seems to be in a hurry. He comes in and reads the paper, chats with people he knows, or he’ll just sit and look out the window. Sometimes he’ll pester those of us trying to work with some witty comment on life or current events. He doesn’t have a problem volunteering his opinion. Not that it’s a bother. He has an interesting perspective on the world. And unhurried, rather conservative, sometimes cynical, sometimes positive, bold perspective.

In my eyes, Mr. Johnny is a portrait of an un-busy person, who has the time to enjoy life as it is. It makes me think that I should slow down a little and take the time to have a real conversation with someone, instead of the typical “How are you? Fine. How are you? Fine.” Our lives don’t have to be full of “things to do.” They can be full of relationships, friends, and laughter. Like my friend Mr. Johnny.

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