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Diner dash

I’m a diner junkie. No chain restaurants for me. I don’t need fancy cappachino or specialty breads. I can live without sushi and quail egg omelettes. I’m an old fashioned mug of joe and two eggs over easy with sides of bacon and homefries for breakfast kind of girl. If the parking lot’s full of BMWs then I’ll pass right on by but if the parking lot’s full of semis and pick ups then I know the food has to be good.

Seat myself, not a problem. I’ll even fetch my own menu as I locate the best booth by the window. It has to be a booth, the kind of booth with naugahyde seats that leave a welt in the summer time when you go to stand up. God only knows what I’d find if I put my hand in the crack between back and bottom. I know I’m not brave enough to look. For some reason everything tastes better when I’m sitting in a booth at a diner.

My coffee’s delivered with a smile and a “need a minute honey?” which of course I do. I don’t mind being called “honey” or “sweety” by my waitress, I’m not sure why because I find it very annoying from other strangers but I know that she says it from  kindness and I’m okay with that.  She’s a nice lady, I’ve met her before. She knew I wanted my coffee and brought it without asking. She’s older than me, not so thin, and not so perfectly put together but she knows her stuff and I’m guessing she could do her job without even looking, she’s done it so long.

I scan through my menu. Cracked and peeling in the corners with a grease spotted list of specials paperclipped in.  Stuffed peppers, baked chicken and beef vegetable is soup-of-the day.

While I sip my coffee I look around to see what everyone else is having. The burgers look good but so does the stew and I wouldn’t even mind an openfaced roastbeef on white with a little extra gravy. But then she walks by with her tray held up high and I smell the unmistakable smell of mealoaf and know exactly what I’m going to have. Nothing fancy just old fashioned meatloaf and gravy. Food that won’t leave me hungry in an hour. Who needs a diet? Salads are for rabbits. I’ll have mashed potatos and gravy and maybe some corn to fool my brain into thinking it’s all good for me. Are onion rings veggies? I tend to think they are. Corn I can have at home, homemade onion rings are just what I need.

The important things covered, it’s time to settle in and look around. I glance at the pick ups in the parking lot, American made…mostly. A couple of dogs looking at their windshields wag their tails hopefully as our eyes meet then settle back down for their nap.

I look at the counter and watch as the stools fill up with men on their lunch breaks or just heading home from their shift at the plant. They nod at each other and talk about the weather and who got a ten point buck last fall. They discuss football and children and who just got laid off. Occasionally they see me watching and nod my way kindly. I’ve been here before but they don’t know my name so we just smile and nod.

There’s an old football team schedule on the wall, it’s been there awhile but it still hangs above the cash register along with photos and crayon drawings colored by children probably now all grown up with kids of their own.

The waitress brings me my food and it’s as good as expected. Nothing fancy, just good food. We eat quietly savoring it while it’s still hot. She comes by again, refills my coffee, asks me how it all was and if I think I might have room left for pie. I really don’t but I order some anyway because I’ve been watching it spin in lazy circles in the cooler. It’s almost a shame when it’s time to leave.

I like the world inside a diner. It’s a peaceful place. Just regular people, not a designer anything to be seen. A step back into time in a way. Good food, good people, good conversation. Regular people with regular problems living regular lives. Some of them born, raised, and some day going to die in the same area and not minding it one bit. I go for the food but leave with a comfortable feeling of home.  Big citys are nice for the glitz and the lights but when it’s dinner time give me an old fashioned small town restaurant with pick ups in the parking lot.

My name is Tia and I’m a diner junkie and I know I’ll be back there again soon and maybe next time I will have the stew….

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2 comments on “Diner dash

  1. Just dropping by.Btw, you website have great content!

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  2. You’re so right about food in old diners. There’s no place like that, and the smells in there… Maybe because my folks had one for many years, and I basically grew up behinf the counter, but whenever I feel like a real treat I have to find a local place like that. Thank you for this, really well described.

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