A Dying Institution

Do you know what makes me feel old? Going into a place and realizing I am the oldest person in the room. Even worse is when I look around and realize I’m the youngest in the room. That happened today. (This post was sitting in my draft pile if your wondering about the published date)

I stopped in an old diner for breakfast this morning. I love old diners. I love any small locally owned restaurants, but especially the old classic diner. This one has been in continuous operation since 1938. Can you imagine the stories the walls could tell? Think of what they have seen.

It was about 9:30 when I was there so the place was full of the “regulars “, or at least I assumed they were. They all knew each other, they all sat in their usual spots and the waitress only had to say two words: “The usual?”

One booth was occupied by four men who were discussing Rock and Roll and the British Invasion. There was some disagreement on whether the British Invasion, especially the Beatles, destroyed Rock and Roll or not. I decided to eat my Irish Benedict in silence.

Speaking of eggs Benedict I still have a hard time adjusting to the fact they are a staple in diners and little breakfast joints around the country these days. Many years ago, I was sitting at a local lunch counter, Sof’s Central Spa to be exact, with my dad when the guy next to me asked the cook if he could have his eggs poached. I have never seen a plate of scrambled eggs fly through the air like that since. What do I mean, the diner was called a spa? No, it’s not a place where you take a sauna but what is now called a convenience or variety store.

Okay, back to today. In this diner, there was a married couple who probably had been eating in this diner for the last 60 years. He was reading the paper and she was looking at her phone. Neither spoke a word. It made me wonder if I will ever run out of words.

Eventually, I had to leave this little piece of history. Diners like this, and the people who love them are fading fast, soon to be nothing but a distant memory. Heck, in another 50 years, no one will even know what a diner is. It’s hard to discuss Rock and Roll with your eyes glued to your phone and the only restaurant meals you have are delivered by a guy in a beat-up Honda Accord with a loud muffler, headphones, and an attitude.

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