I saw an advert in my local newspaper for a new wine bar that also served food. It was opening up not far from me. It was called, “The Writer’s Corner”. Since I am a writer, the name intrigued me.
The next day I visited “The Writer’s Corner”. I walked into a large room with a long bar with 20 stools along one wall. The rest of the room was filled with booths along another wall and tables and chairs in the middle. There was a luxurious red carpet throughout and the walls were wood paneled. There was low ceiling lighting. But what really struck me were all the pictures of writers lining the walls. There were at least 50 pictures, ranging from Franklin, Emerson, and Poe to Tennessee Williams, Arthur Miller and Don DeLillo!
I sat at the bar opposite a large picture of Ben Franklin. I ordered a glass of red wine. Franklin was not only one of the Founding Fathers of America but an accomplished writer also.
The fellow next to me was heavy-set with an oval face, thin wire spectacles and long brown hair down to the top of his shoulders. He was dressed in a black suit.
“Nice place they opened up here?” I remarked.
“Yes, it is. It makes you feel like you are among the literary greats.”
“We’re sitting by Franklin’s picture, have you read any of his work?”
“Oh yes, all of it! From the “Autobiography” to “Poor Richards Almanac” through to the “13 Virtues.”
“Boy, you’re a student of Ben Franklin!”
“You could say that,” he smiled.
“I think Franklin believed in the “self-made man,” I ventured, trying to show my knowledge.
“Yes, he did. He was a self-made man. He was a man coming from humble beginnings and he achieved success through his own hard work and ingenuity. He had accomplished many achievements during his lifetime.”
I took a sip of my wine and savored it while I studied the Franklin picture. He had the look of a wise man.
“I like his proverbs in the Almanac.”
“Which ones do you like?”
“I like, “There are no gains without pains”, and “One today is worth two tomorrows,” I said, enthusiastically.
“Yes, I like those too,” he said, smiling.
“I believe Franklin signed the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States.”
“Yes, he not only signed them, he actually wrote parts of them. He was a true “Yankee.”
“Oh, I didn’t know that!”
I took a sip of my wine.
“He believed in the virtuous life, didn’t he?”
“Yes, that’s why he wrote the 13 Virtues for people to follow.”
My friend drank the last of his wine.
“I have to leave now. I’ve had my two glasses of wine.”
“Oh yes, one of the virtues was “Temperance.”
“That’s right, my friend, “Eat not to dullness and drink not to elevation.”
With that statement he left.
I finished my wine staring at Franklin’s picture and I thought:
I WONDER IF I HAVE BEEN ACTUALLY TALKING TO BENJAMIN FRANKLIN!