ALL ABOARD | Dishing dirt with Charlie and Leon, who needs a dish?

While sitting around the caboose the other afternoon, instead of enjoying our splendidly sporadic December sunshine, it occurred to me, since I was alone at the time, that

I ought to do a trial run on next year’s New Year’s resolutions.

Given that I’ll most likely break my commitments early on in ’09, why not start now?

So, I just called the DISH Network, my digital TV link for the last three years.

I called to tell them to stop my service on midnight the ninth, 12 hours before I have lunch with Leon Israel and Charlie Dunham at the Freeland Cafe.

Why waste time watching satellite television when I can stay grounded by having lunch with two guys representing more than 16 decades of BS?

No, not that kind.

BS as in Biting Sarcasm.

One of the periodic elements I like most while hanging with the home boys is their constant barrage of skilled sarcasm.

Guys in groups are not serious. That’s for one-on-one on the way to the ball- park.

Guys in groups will generally not get serious for to do so would preclude the oncoming punch line.

Whether a chortle, a guffaw or a pleasant chuckle, any audible response above the waist will do to satisfy the BS boys.

Leon and Charlie are no exceptions, as can be verified by Ursula and Dawn, the Freeland Cafe’s AM A-Team, who never argue over who gets to not wait on us.

Leon, a former POW shoe repair extraordinaire Democrat, who lives in the woods, will order a B-L-T with fries and coffee.

Charlie, a retired Navy Chief Republican, who retired blissfully to the beach after 30 years of selling dirt to dreamers, will order two eggs over easy with wheat toast. Hold the hash browns and sausage, thanks to Charlie’s last Stuart Anderson Angus Beef stress-tested, three-way by-pass.

When I first moved to Whidbey in the early ’80s, I thought a three-way by-pass was the way to avoid Oak Harbor.

During lunch, Leon and Charlie will likely share pictures of naval destroyers, colored paper with off-color jokes, and stories of downtown Seattle in the 1940s.

Like any good Marine, I’ll sit quietly, thumbs along the seams of my trousers, my feet at a 45-degree angle, listening to two salty vets swap BS while I chew in a clockwise fashion.

There is no way to measure the value of the time I get to spend with Leon and Charlie.

There is no way to measure the value of every chuckle, guffaw or prolonged chortle.

There is no way to measure the meaning of the moment.

Not that moment.

Nor this one.

Nor the next.

But I can sure be thankful for them all.

That one, this one and the next.

And in the closing moments of today’s lunch, I’ll offer to pay the parking while Leon and Charlie argue over who bought last time.

Think they’ll remember that parking is free?