It was an unsettling question. Not because I had any strong negative opinions about Carrollton, or that I was hiding something from its people. Carrollton was where my grandmother had lived for the seven years of my life that I knew her and where my aunt had spent most of the rest of her days, so I liked what I knew of the town just fine. Cute little old small town, central courthouse square, old-fashioned artery-clogging diner -- everything you'd care to find.
Wasn't the circumstance, either -- although we'd returned for my aunt's funeral, she had been declining for awhile and the knowledge she was at peace was more welcome than it might have been otherwise. Wasn't the fact that I was kind of being singled out by the old man with his cup of coffee asking me the question. I was dressed for the funeral in a shirt and tie, and on Thursday morning at the McDonald's where we'd stopped for breakfast, I stood out. Plus, Carrollton is small enough that most folks probably know most other folks who live there.
But since I was standing at a urinal, engaged in the business that often occupies one when standing at a urinal, I did not know what kind of answer to give. I think the old man thought I was someone he knew and never really realized his mistake, but either way I blocked off the first dozen smart-aleck answers that came to my mind and just said, "Seems like a fine place."