Old men ready to bring peace if government can’t

There’s a table in the far northeast corner of Green Lake’s own Grouse Café that’s unusual even for a restaurant that once hired a team of trained Labrador Retrievers as night cooks. Only four men are allowed to site at this table, identified by brass nameplates that read Jebediah Turner, Roscoe Pepper, Buzz Winfield and Jack Milligan. While every other table has a kelly green tablecloth and white plates, this table has a red, white and blue tablecloth, with the words “These Colors Won’t Run” appearing in a crisscross pattern. And all the chairs are crammed together in the corner, against the wall (“We don’t leave our backs turned on the idiots in this town,” explains Buzz Winfield). These four men worked at Green Lake’s NASA plant together since the 1960’s and have come to the Grouse at 6 am sharp every single morning since their retirement in 1992. Buzz orders an omelet with ham, onions and small bits of burnt waffle- he won’t eat them any other way. Jack has two slices of toast, deep-fried and served with Hollandaise sauce. All four have coffee- black- and Turner brings in the morning edition of the Green Lake Flagbearer, the usual source of conversational topics.

Grouse owner Shirley Curry doesn’t mind the extra time and preparation needed for what she calls the “old men table”- but even she was surprised last week when the four men held a press conference outlining their plan for improving U.S./North Korean relations. “Usually they just sit there and get mad at the news,” she explains. “You know, ‘damn bureaucrats’ and all that. But for them to try writing a peace plan for North Korea- nobody saw that coming.”

It was Jebediah Turner’s idea that the group focus its attention on the embattled Korean peninsula. “I always liked Ike [former president Dwight] Eisenhower, matter of fact, I used to go by ‘Ike’ myself til the fellas told me about that Ike Turner the musician. Rabblerouser, that one. Ike- the president, you understand, not Ike Turner- he said ‘I will go to Korea’ in 1952, to end the war there, y’see. And he solved the whole problem, til those Commies started acting up again. Ike’s dead now, so I thought I could step in and go to Korea to fix the mess in his name.”

Those are the complete details of the Turner Plan as written: After raising enough money for the trip, Jeb and the “fellas” will journey to Pyongyang and start peace talks with the North Korean government. Roscoe Pepper is optimistic about the plan’s chances for bringing peace to Korea. “Jeb can talk sense into the Commies, I know he can. Those fatcats in Washington can’t do nothing right. We can.” Buzz Winfield, a former Air Force pilot in Korea, adds that “If they won’t listen to Jeb, maybe they’ll listen to my F-16 blowing up their missile silos. Sure, I haven’t flown a plane since Korea and I got discharged for smacking three POW’s around with a burnt waffle, but I’m ready to serve my country.”

State Department officials had no comment about the plan, though a spokesman on North Korean television said “old men are wicked” and “they will die dishonorably if they come to molest us.”

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