There is something about a diner that brings out the most personal of conversations.
For me, this always happens at breakfast. The smells… bacon frying, hash brown potatoes, fresh coffee brewing, rye bread toasting; the sounds…patrons coming and going, the busiest of cash registers, the clank of cups and dishes; the sights..the bright decor, the silver shine, the wait staff running madly about. All of the senses are engaged.
And somehow, the secrets come out.
I live in an area of eastern Pennsylvania where the diner has survived the onslaught of those franchised restaurant chains. Meeting friends for breakfast is still a treat for me. We come for the eggs, stay for the conversation, lingering for longer than we may be welcome.
The superficial topics arrive first. They are usually dispelled in the first 20 minutes.
Then, the good stuff comes. The stuff that takes your friendship to a different level. If you’re a good friend of mine, we’ve shared a diner breakfast.
It works for family relationships as well. The first time I ever spoke out loud about troubled childhood relationships and abuse was to my stepmother, long after my Dad had passed, and in a diner. She confided that she had always suspected.
One of my favorite stories involved my Dad, in the months following my mother’s death. We were at the “pink” diner shown above, at the counter, where he took up a conversation with an older waitress that he knew. No big deal…this was a small town and he seemed to know everyone.
After a brief chat, she went into the kitchen. He looked at me and said…”You see that woman ? She was the first I ever slept with”.
He went on to say that he was a teenager, had recently enlisted in the army, and was scheduled to leave for boot camp when they were introduced by friends.
By this point, I was choking a bit on my rye toast, mainly believing that he forgot for a moment that I was his daughter and this info might be inappropriate.
He misread my discomfort, paused to react, and said “oh, but she was much better looking back then!”
Oh well then, as long as she was better-looking then, I guess it’s all right [choke]!
Haha! (I enjoyed your post by the way – I also love diners and you brought their mood to life.)
I was sad to hear that the one in the pic was dismantled, to be sold. Sale fell through, it is rotting in a field somewhere. Such a waste. Thanks, Colette, from a fellow diner fan. ☺
LOL! Great story! ❤
Thanks so much, Colleen. ☺
Whoa–I’m glad your dad didn’t elaborate! I suppose he never looked quite the same to you after that? I don’t see diners anymore–big cities have them but they are tucked away and I don’t look. But I do remember the old Alice’s Restaurant kind of diners and you’re right–there’s nothing quite like them. I enjoyed your story!
Thankfully, no details. He did lose his edit button as he aged.(Lately, I can relate.☺) Alice’s Restaurant…a friend sent me a link to it recently. Still strange and funny. Thanks for the comment, Mandy…glad you liked it.
Hey Mandy…sorry, I hit something and lost your original comment. Hope this makes sense. Van
Nevermind…I found out how to bring back a comment. Breaking in a new wired “mouse”…ugh.
Loved the story about the diner, but your dad must have shocked you!
Shocking folks was one of his favorite things to do…he was quite a character. He also shared some stories about my mom that might have crossed the line…not sure I’ll ever write about those. Thanks, lbeth. ( is the small l for Linda ???) Van ☺
This post is right on, Van. About diners, what they bring out, what we hold in to some people and let out to others. Fathers can be something for shocking behavior … Mine took me to a bar when I got back home for my first break from college and introduced me to the woman bartender — as his girlfriend. Sure made it interesting facing him and my mother at the same table the rest of my break. Yeah, my parents divorced soon afterward, and my father stayed married to the woman he introduced me to that day for almost 30 years, until the day he died. But still! You know what? I’m glad he didn’t make that introduction in a diner. A bar was easier. I had a beer.
Wow..kudos to your dad. He gets points from me on the shock scale ! I didn’t have the beer then…but, other times, other stories…sigh.
I guess there is honor in being treated like an adult/friend, instead of a child when the time comes. Still…boundaries! Thanks for reading and commenting. ☺
I saw very little benefit in being treated as an adult at the moment, Van. Years ater, I tried to see it through his filter, and reconciled the situation more in his favor. But, still …
I hear ya .