One More…

August 21, 2011

8:32 a.m.

Yesterday’s special, really:  A New York Reuben (pastrami and pepper jack cheese) with sweet corn and cheesecake for dessert.

One more moment.  The best part of yesterday.  Late in the evening.   Busy.  The place is full.   Everyone has come at once.  Almost everyone is familiar and dear.  Everything is messy.  It’s hot.  There are peanut shells everywhere, dirty dishes stacked high, unfinished projects galore for all of us:  pies, waffle cones, dishes, etc.  I think we–me, Rick, Jenna, and Laura–must all have the glazed look of the bone-deep exhausted.  Just plowing forward, now, one step at a time, trying.  Catch glimpses of people–Joe and Philly Bill and their families, Al and his kids, the Kopacks, the Zuiderveens, as well as people I know but don’t know their names.  The tall nice guy with the deep voice.  The smiley woman who loves the cookies.  I want to thank them all for being here, for being so–great.  Devoted.  Part of our lives for so long.  Patient and appreciative.   This doesn’t erase the fact that we’re exhausted, but it makes the exhaustion bearable, worthwhile.

It’s Joe’s birthday.  We bring him a piece of blackberry pie with one pink candle on it and everyone sings.  He looks bashful and pleased.

There’s a long wait for food.  Poor Rick.  It’s all on him, very few pizzas out of those orders, and almost everything a big delicious slow thing to make.

And then, out of the hubbub I hear a little boy–Joe’s little boy, Joey–say, plaintive and certain, sad but not complaining, just sort of stoically making a statement of terrible fact:  I’m not patient!

Clearly his parents have gently told him to be patient (he’s waiting for French fries, I later find out, unlimited French fries which are the payoff on a wager he won with his dad and dad’s friends), and he’s telling them, You’re asking the impossible. Laura and I catch this at the same time and look at each other with delight.

“I think that just made my day,” Laura says.

Me too, absolutely.  It’s the best part of the day, hands down.  Except later, after dinner, Joey spontaneously does the French Fry Dance and the Robot Dance, plus he imitates a crab and pinches Philly Bill (Bill surely deserved it, he always does), and maybe that was the best part of the day.

This is the kind of thing that will keep me going in the desert of August exhaustion for a long time.

Category: Today's Special 9 comments »

9 Responses to “One More…”

  1. bekah


  2. Mariann Airgood

    Hi Ellen, So glad you notice these moments. Before you know it the deserts, and desserts, of August will be passed once more, and it will be September. Someone commented that you should hire someone to replace you and spend more time writing. I agree, but, how would you ever find someone who can do what you do? If you did find them, how long would it take you to train them and how could you ever pay them enough? You would need to find a local who lives to work and is very determined, talented and versatile…….oh, that’s you.

  3. Karen Casebeer

    Ellen…You sound bone-tired. We are heading your way tomorrow and will look forward to seeing you then and can already imagine the taste of your ice cream and good cooking. Take care…Karen

  4. ellenair

    Thank you, Bekah.

  5. ellenair

    Nice to see you Karen!

  6. Terrie Anne

    I gave my Mom your book ( that you signed ) for her birthday and she wanted me to tell you she loved it. She stayed up until 3 or 4:00 in the morning reading until she finished it. I have been so busy that I haven’t got a chance to read it yet but am looking forward to it this winter as my business slows down. I also am looking forward to my own writing again. Fall is the busiest time of year for me with College flags needed to be sewn, etc. Love your blogs Ellen. Take care.

    Terrie A. Newton

  7. Mary Ann Potter
  8. Nancy Mashburn

    Never having been in the U.P., we decided to get away from the opressive heat in Tulsa, OK and go north. When we were at the diner in Grand Marias and spent a few moments talking with your wairess who gave us the card for your book. I bought a copy in Munising and just finished it. It reminded me of growing up in the little railroad/mining town of Minturn, CO (Near what is now Vail, CO) where everyone was poor so we din’t know anything else and certainly didn’t know we were poor.

    We spent the winder pretty isolated during WWII with a car parked in the drive staying there waiting for the snow to melt and then driving only short distances but never in town because of the rationing of gas.

    My good friend had a grandmother (we all called her Grany) who owned the local hotel and was quite an eccentric character adding much color to our little community.

    I found your book not only charming but also, in a way, full of nostalgia.

    Would you mind sending me a copy of the history of the diner which is on the back of the menu?

    thank you and be blessed!

  9. ellenair

    Thank you, and sure, I’d be happy to send you a copy of the back of the menu. Just send an address. Thank you for sharing your memories.

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