Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Groundhog Day

Happy Groundhog Day to everybody who won't experience six more weeks of winter. Here in south Texas I can tell you if it ain't 52-degrees by Friday I'm going to write a letter.

Groundhog Day, a good film, too.

I had my own personal Groundhog Day many years ago in California. I was out in Anaheim for a week and on my first day I stopped at a breakfast joint. Nothing spectacular, something like a Denny's or Bob's Big Boy, I don't remember. It was a breakfast joint and the parking lot was full of pickup trucks. Always a good sign.

The hostess seated me at a little two-person booth and after scanning the menu I settled on a Captain's Breakfast: two eggs, sausage, hash browns, two buttermilk pancakes, juice and coffee. All for $4.95. What a deal. It was an OK breakfast, nothing special, but OK and soon I was on my way.

The next day I stopped for breakfast at the same place, was seated at the same booth and ordered the Captain's Breakfast from the same waitress. Hey, weren't you here yesterday. Yep. You had a Captain's Breakfast yesterday, huh? Yep. Whoa, that's one of those things, ain't it? Yep.

The third day I made the mistake of stopping at the same place for breakfast. They were waiting for me. At first they told me there were no tables ready, but the place was practically empty. So, I hung around for a few minutes. No big deal. At last the hostess seated me at what had now become my Usual Booth and my Usual Waitress brought out a Captain's Breakfast automatically. I feigned surprise as I had planned on having waffles that day, but no matter. They were having fun so I joined in.

As I left the staff gathered around the cash register and asked if I would be having breakfast in the morning. I wasn't sure what to say. I could have lied and said that I was flying out that afternoon, but they looked so eager, so keen for me to say, sure, I'll be back for one more, final, Captain's Breakfast in my Usual Booth served by my Usual Waitress.

And as if in a trance I said all that. I kicked myself all the way to work for being such a coward.

My last day was quite spectacular. True I was really flying out that afternoon and wouldn't return forever. Guaranteed. The staff pulled out all the stops. My Usual Booth had a floral arrangement. The staff sang. I was King for a Day. And breakfast was on the house. Imagine that. In four days I went from customer to King.

Like Groundhog Day the film I was caught in a loop of my own. I wonder if my Usual Waitress has ever told the story about the customer who came for breakfast four days in a row.

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