DURHAM NC- Earl, winner of last week's flatulence contest, is smiling over the brim of his coffee cup as he eyes Sally. He winks at her, she smiles warmly as her dentures pop out of her mouth. Then, he grabs hold of his walker and limps over to her table, clackity clack, clackity clack until he reaches her. She invites him to sit down and they begin a low groan of conversation. After a while, she notices he hasn't said anything, but there is a bulge at his crotch. She nudges him and he doesn't respond to that either. Rigormortis has set in.
This is a scene that is common on any weekday morning at the Rocking Chair. You don't have to go far beyond your plate of grits to find seniors exchanging phone numbers and addresses. This area establishment has been serving seniors breakfast for over 50 years. And most of the customers are over 50 years old.
"It's always an adventure here, says customer Zelda Morris. "You never know if someone is going to die, or get up and walk out of here."
"And the meals aren't the only thing that's hot around here," says Erma Smith who met her fourth husband at the Rocking Chair.
"At first I thought he was really shy," she recalls. "I never thought he was going to say anything until I realized that he couldn't. At the time, his throat had gotten so dry that he was waiting for the waitress to bring him a glass of water so that he could talk."
To spice things up a bit for the older crowd, the Rocking Chair offers daily specials such as Monday's wild egg mornings; Tuesday's--two (eggs) for Tuesday; Wednesday's flatulence contest; Thursday's denture less Karaoke; and Friday's pill swallowing contest.
At the Rocking Chair, seniors order everything from coffee with cream and sugar to tall glasses of water. Many of them get so exasperated that they can't sit still. Oxygen tanks are provided by wait staff to help accommodate exasperated customers. Hearing aid batteries and Rolaids can also be bought at the counter.
One woman got so excited that she farted and left the whole place smelling like rotten eggs for over an hour. "We had to run the exhaust fans full blast and open the doors just to air out the place," said waitress Betty Peel.
The local restaurant has been identified as one of the best pick-up places for the senior set. Other good places were: McDonalds, a nursing home, the mall, a political interest group, match.com, the park, family and friends and any area Protestant church.