Waffle House is important to us as a couple. If you know us or have read this blog for a while, you surely know part of the story. Here is another part, part that mostly happened before I knew my love.
Once upon a time, I moved to the south after about thirty years of life where Waffle House usually meant a road trip to see my great grandmother.
I was excited to learn that I would be living in a town, Gainesville, with not one, not two, but three Waffle Houses.
We ate Waffle House while house hunting.Then we moved to town and ate there a few times, but there were five of us including three under five.
But, Waffle House, of course, is the sort of place you can go alone. Or in my case, with a baby or baby and toddler in tow. I’d stop there some mornings; after taking my now 18-year-old to preschool, particularly rainy, dim mornings.
In fact, on those sort of mornings ever since, I picture myself having a bit of breakfast and people watching at that particular Waffle House. The staff there was classic Waffle House. I was sugar, honey, darling. They joked with each other and the regulars. They cared about each other and their customers.
A couple of years later, we lived closer to a more convenient Waffle House and started to be more of a weekend type of Waffle House visitor.
The Waffle House where I had spent many an hour with the baby closed. I worried about where one very special waitress Vonnie, would go. She wasn’t young, but she was that combo of sass and heart that makes for a great Waffle House employee.
I am visiting the town I called home for a decade. This morning I dropped my other son off at work. I thought to grab coffee, newspaper and head back to the hotel. I texted my love and said “I don’t think I am getting Waffle House while I am here.” Today is my last day here and the schedule seemed unworkable.She suggested I go then. Ok.
I headed to the closest Waffle House. I ordered. I thought “That one in Forsyth was way better.” (Just because the Waffle House I went to today is a training Waffle House and there is more staff, more people unsure of what they are doing, less of a Waffle House where people have worked there years and are comfortable with their job.)
I popped a quarter in the jukebox; because it just isn’t right not to listen to Mary Welch Rogers singing Waffle House Family. I sat back down at the counter.
Soon a familiar face showed up behind the counter! Vonnie! I was surprised and so happy. She looked good. I said “You worked at the Waffle House on 13th! She said “I did, until it closed down.” Then she looked at me again, smiled, and asked about the baby. Yes, the baby that is now 13.
I ate. I got ready to leave. I told Vonnie it was good to see her again and for her to take care of herself. She said you too darling, you too.
A decade after I last saw her, at a different Waffle House, Vonnie reminded me that I am still Waffle House family in more than just a past memories.
I am proud to be part of the Waffle House Nation, even if I live far away from one now and my regular Waffle House is their Facebook fan page for now.