Diner argument ‘not troubling,’ officials say

By Becca Friend | Sometime correspondent
A rare, brief argument erupted at Grumpy's Friendly Diner. (Beacon illustration)
A rare, brief argument erupted at Grumpy’s Friendly Diner. (Beacon illustration)

A heated discussion turned into an argument Monday during breakfast period at Grumpy’s Friendly Diner in Bass Lake.
The clash came between Rusty Smith, a local hog farmer, and Biff “Leroy” Brown, a Bass Lake-based attorney, regarding politics.
According to witnesses — I was among them — the argument mostly involved a disagreement about whether mid-term elections “really mean anything.”
“Voices were raised,” said shift waitress Gladys Pips. “But no blows were exchanged, or anything like that.”
It was the first reported “heated” discussion at the eatery in nearly four years, said Grumpy Tate, owner of Grumpy’s. Tate seemed unconcerned about the incident.
“I wasn’t there, but they called me in, just in case,” Grumpy Tate said, smiling. “I don’t think it’ll amount to much. I called ‘em both later and said they should cool off and maybe not eat breakfast there for a couple days.”
Pips did say both men “left in a huff,” and she believes Brown may have forgotten to pay for his meal, which included an omelet and coffee.
“He can pay for it next time,” she said. “Plus, we know where he works anyway.”
Tug McNabb, chief of Bass Lake Authority Police (BLAP), watched the incident unfold from a booth in the corner, and chose not to intervene, since he was off-duty at the time.
“It was entertaining, I can tell you that,” McNabb said. “Ol’ Rusty, he’s quite the talker. So’s the other guy.”


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