At the gas station where I frequently fill up on the way to taking KatyBeth to school, there is a group of old men in their retirement years who gather on benches in front of the store, smoking cigarettes, drinking coffee and arguing politics.
Most days we just nod politely to each other, or perhaps exchange a brief word of greeting.
Today, they were grinning like teenaged boys, elbowing each other and furtively staring.
I knew it was the kilt.
While I was pumping gas, one of them got brave enough to say something. “Bet that thang’s purty cool in hot weather, ain’t it?” one of them called across the parking lot.
The rest of them kept grinning, anticipating my reply.
I left the pump running, and sauntered over. “A lot cooler than britches,” I agreed, “but that’s not why I’m wearing it.”
“You Scottish, then?” The bold one challenged, to more grins and winks from his companions. “You sound like a Louisiana boy.”
“Nope, not Scottish, unless you go back half a dozen generations, and this is an American-style kilt. I’m wearing it for prostate cancer awareness. You fellas had an exam done lately?”
The smiles and winks disappeared.
“I did,” said the one who had originally spoken. “Seven years ago. I had the cancer. They took it out.”
“Everyone over 40 ought to have an exam,” I told them. “Not the blood test, but the exam. The blood test is unreliable. You catch it early enough, you got a good chance of living through it like your friend here.”
No one up and volunteered to go make an appointment with his doctor before I left, but there were a lot of sober looks, and the cancer survivor pressed $20 into my hand for KTKC.
I’ll score that a win.