Tag Archives: Waffle House

There Are Two Americas

15 Jan

There are two Americas.

I am not talking about Democrat and Republican. I am not talking about conservative and liberal. I am not even talking about anti-Trump and pro-Trump.

I am talking about Waffle House American and IHOP America.

There is an IHOP a few exits down the interstate with decent pancakes, but we live in the middle of Waffle House America. Those of you who live in IHOP America are missing out in the wonders of a 24 hour breakfast extravaganza.

The wonders of Waffle House are many, but it starts with the hash browns. You can get them scattered, smothered, covered, chunked, topped, diced and any combination therein. Personally, I like them simply covered. Although, I have gotten them covered and chunked.

In my mind, the ham and cheese omelette is the best accompaniment with the hash browns. The eggs are fluffy, and the cheese is cheesy. What is better than an omelette with cheese along with hash browns covered with cheese?

This morning, we ate at Waffle House in Georgia, the headquarters of Waffle House and the center of the Waffle House world. The restaurant, as always, was filled with a variety of people. In fact, I have always considered Waffle House to be a microcosm of Waffle House America. At any time, you can run into all kinds of people.

Today, we sat next to a young couple who could have been described as Yuppie if being a Yuppie was still a thing. Behind them sat a couple of Muslim women with their kids sitting in the next booth. An elderly man sat alone at the counter next to a man and his young son. An Alabama fan sat on the other side of them. You can always find an Alabama fan in Waffle House.

Here is the thing. There was none of that stereotypical southerners hate everyone nonsense. People of different religions and races were eating a meal in a small restaurant. Perhaps waffles are our great unifier. Everyone loves waffles. If they do not love waffles, then they have to love hash browns covered.

Waffle House is an amazing place, but the system is the most amazing part of it. The wait staff takes orders and, like all good table waiters, write down the order. Then, they stand in a certain spot and yell the order to the cooks. The cooks never see a written order. They remember it all in some kind of Waffle House code. Many times, I have sat in Waffle House in the wee hours of the morning and wondered about their ability to remember everything.

Did I mention wee hours? Waffle House has always been the place for late night revelers who need to soak up the night’s libations with greasy food. It has been the restaurant of choice after many concerts and nights on the town.

There are great stories about nighttime Waffle House visits, but my favorite involves an inebriated friend who wanted a Waffle House shirt. He spent the entire time trying to buy the shirt off the manager’s back. Before we left, he had purchased it for $500. It was ridiculous. The manager just went to his car and put on another one.

In Waffle House America, the yellow sign is a beacon for weary travelers.

It is a warm place in the middle of a cold winter night. It is one last stop who need a hangover cure before the hangover hits. It is a family diner for families headed to church. It is a place for those who have a hankering for breakfast food at dinner time. It is a place where you always recognize the people even if you do not know who they are.

There are two Americas – Waffle House America and IHOP America. Now, someone please tell me about the wonders of that other place.

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A New Year’s Eve Celebration to End All New Year’s Eve Celebrations

2 Jan

Yesterday, my old college roommate sent a text saying that it has been 26 years since the greatest New Year’s Eve party of all time. It was held at our apartment, and I am certain that, in the past quarter of a century, the apartment complex has not seen anything else like it. I will not recount the specifics of the gathering. Just know that none of have forgotten any of it.

After that text, I thought about how I have spent some of the other New Year’s Eves.New Year

There was the one that my future wife and I spent in a swanky private club in Nashville.

There was the one at SeaWorld in Orlando, Florida.

There was also the one in the downtown streets of Phoenix, Arizona with the same old college roommate.

Oh yeah, there was also the one spent in a Waffle House in north Georgia.

I almost forgot about the one on Waikiki Beach in Honolulu, Hawaii.

There was also the one when I had the flu.

A lot of New Year’s Eves have come and gone. Some of them have been memorable. Some of the have been forgotten. Some of them have been fun. Some of the have been miserable. However, my favorite New Year’s Eve was a few night ago.

My stepdaughter had a couple of friends over. We had homemade pizza and took selfies. They danced and sang. I slipped off and watched the end of The Magnificent Seven and the beginning of Wyatt Earp, but nothing could keep me away from the fun. We watched the ball drop in New York and the musical note drop in Nashville.

It was a great night spent with people I love. Is there a better way to start the new year?

 

 

Celebrations of Yesteryear

1 Jan

Last night, we spent a low-key evening playing games and doing everything we could to stay up until midnight. It was a fun celebration of the new year, but my mind kept going back to a celebration that took place twenty-five years ago.

My college roommates and I threw a huge party at our apartment. To protect the guilty, I will not recount the gory details of the gathering, but it would make a good movie to be shown in some art house theater.

There were two parts of the party that can fit a family blog and provide examples of that night. First, most of the furniture ended up in the backyard. Second, I spent the strike of midnight convincing a girl not to kill her boyfriend.

As I thought back to that night, I thought about where I was on other nights of the yearly eve, Honestly, I cannot remember most of them. That is either a result of inebriation or old age. However, a few of the nights come in clearly.New Year

One New Year’s Eve was spent at SeaWorld in Orlando, Florida. Those were the days when my favorite football team played in a New Year’s Day bowl every year. We watched fireworks that night and watched fireworks on the field the next day.

Traveling to a football game also took me to the streets of Phoenix, Arizona on a warm December night. My friend, who was also hosted the famous party, and I stumbled down the sidewalks with 200,000 other people. Luckily, we ran into Larry, who you have read about a couple of times, and he got us to our hotel.

Football games have also led me to less festive locales. One New Year’s Eve was spent in a Waffle House in north Georgia. The greatest memory of that night was one of my traveling companions complaining about the iced tea. According to him, it tasted like urine. Of course, he used a different term.

The New Year’s Eve on of Waikiki Beach was a lot better than the one in north Georgia. Everyone sat in the sand while fireworks blasted over the Pacific Ocean. The only problem was that we had to drive across the island to our beach house and almost got lost.

There have been many memorable New Year’s celebrations. However, none of them compare to the party at Citizen, a private club in Nashville. At one of their parties, I spent New Year’s Eve with my future wife. Since then, every celebration of the coming year has been awesome.

A Long Night in Old Nashville

16 May

This week, I have been attending meetings in Nashville, and the route to the meetings takes me by a lounge called Dad’s Place. As I passed by this morning, it brought to mind the longest night I have ever spent.

My friend Mac was in town for the evening and wanted to hit the streets. Mac is an old road dog who can stay out late and get up early. Honestly, I have never known how he does it. The only person I know who can hang with him is my friend Pig. Their routines would kill mere mortals.

When Mac said to meet him at Dad’s, I knew it was going to be a long night. I just did not know how long.

Dad’s is an interesting place, and I have no idea how to describe it. I suppose it would be a cross between an AARP meeting and a nightclub. One time, I saw two men in their 60s get in a fight over a woman. You can let your imagination go from there.

After a few drinks, we went to The Stockyard Restaurant, a Nashville steakhouse that is too high and too full of tourists. We did not go to eat. We went to spend some time in the Bullpen Lounge. More drinks were in our future, but the real treat was Tommy Riggs, the house singer. Tommy was a large man, but that did not take away from his voice. He was a great singer and entertainer.Tommy Riggs

I distinctly remember him singing a song that he wrote called “Love’s Last Stand.” I could not find his version on the Internet, but I found Donna Meade’s version.

Of course, Mac and Tommy were on a first name basis.

I have no idea how long we spent in the Bullpen, but I was worn to a frazzle. We had more places to go, though. Next stop, the historic Printer’s Alley. These days, it is a tourist area, but it has a seedy past of strip clubs and prostitution. Throughout its many transformations, one place remained a constant – Skull’s Rainbow Room. That was our next stop.Rainbow Room

It should be obvious that the Rainbow Room was owned by Skull, who always sat at the back bar wearing Hee Haw overalls and watching television. We walked in and Eddie, the house singer, was on stage. Guess what. Mac and Eddie were on a first name basis, too. We listened to Eddie sing and drank with him between sets. We were there forever, and lots of people came and went. One of them was the Undertaker. You know, the professional wrestler. We had a few drinks with him, too.

Like at the Bullpen, I have no idea how long we spent at the Rainbow Room, but I know that we closed it down. We helped them clean up. We helped them stack chairs on the tables. We turned off the lights. We shared a cab with Skull. He got in the front seat while Mac and I got in the back. Hold on, some girl got in the back with us. It is hazy, but I remember that she was goth and said something about how she could help me end the night in a great way. It would not cost that much money.

At some point, the girl faded into the darkness. I guess goth people can do that. We dropped Skull off at his apartment. It was not too many years later that Skull was robbed and killed at closing time. It is one of the more famous crimes in Nashville’s history.

One would think that the night would be over. It was not. We made our last stop at the Hermitage Cafe.Hermitage Cafe

It is like Waffle House but better. Then, we finally made it to the hotel and to bed. A couple of hours later, Mac was up and ready to go. I was ready to forget how bad I felt.

The longest night I have ever spent was forever ago. As I said, Skull is no longer with us, and the Rainbow Room is boarded up. Tommy Riggs has also passed away. I have often wondered what happened to Eddie. Did he find another club or go back home? I have also wondered what happened to that girl. Did she find another customer that night, or did she meet her coven around the cauldron?

Yes, it was a long night, but it was also a fun night.

 

I’m Not a Parrothead in the Purest Sense of the Word

3 Sep

I have been to several Jimmy Buffett concerts. I don’t have a detailed memory of the first few, but some of the others have stuck with me. Once, I watched my friend try to operate a pair of crutches after an evening of libations. Another time, I remember the entire concert but can’t remember leading the Waffle House in a Jimmy Buffett sing-a-long afterwards. The last time I saw him, downtown Nashville flooded as the Cumberland River rose to unbelievable levels.

The concert was a few blocks from here.

However, I do not consider myself a Parrothead. I do not follow Jimmy around the country while wearing a Hawaiian shirt. I don’t wear a shark fin on my head. I don’t wear a flower necklace and a grass skirt. Heck, I don’t even like his straight up beachy songs as well as I like his more subtle beachy songs.

This came to mind because one of my favorite Jimmy Buffett songs (“Pencil Thin Mustache” is my favorite one.) always pops into my head on Labor Day. Why? Because it mentions Labor Day. To get the song out of my mind and to commemorate the holiday, I offer a picture of Jimmy Buffett and the lyrics to “Come Monday“.

He’s done well for someone with one No. 1 hit.

Headin’ out to San Francisco

For the Labor Day weekend show.

I’ve got my Hush-Puppies on.

I guess I never was meant for glitter rock and  roll.

And honey, I didn’t know

That I’d be missin’ you so.

Come Monday, it’ll be all right.

Come Monday, I’ll be holdin’ you tight.

I spent four lonely days in a brown L. A. haze,

And I just want you back by my side.

Yes, it’s been quite a summer,

Rent-a-cars and west-bound trains,

And now you’re off on vacation.

Somethin’ you tried to explain.

And darlin’, since I love you so

That’s the reason I just let you go.

Come Monday, it’ll be all right.

Come Monday, I’ll be holdin’ you tight.

I spent four lonely days in a brown L. A. haze,

And I just want you back by my side.

I can’t help it honey.

You’re that much a part of me now.

Remember that night in Montana

When we said there’d be no room for doubt.

I hope you’re enjoyin’ the scenery.

I know that it’s pretty up there.

We can go hikin’ on Tuesday.

With you, I’d walk anywhere.

California has worn me quite thin.

I just can’t wait to see you again.

Come Monday, it’ll be all right.

Come Monday, I’ll be holdin’ you tight.

I spent four lonely days in a brown L. A. haze,

And I just want you back by my side.

I spent four lonely days in a brown L. A. haze,

And I just want you back by my side.

Oh yeah, I also like it because San Francisco is one of my favorite cities. Maybe I should write a post about that.