Posted tagged ‘diner’

“How strange it is to view a town you grew up in, not in wonderment through the eyes of youth, but with the eyes of a historian on the way things were.”

February 22, 2018

For two days Boston has hit 70˚. We hit a high of 55˚. The sun has deserted us. It is cloudy again and damp and chilly. Last night it rained a little. I was lying in bed reading and heard what I thought at first was a mouse gnawing. It wasn’t. It was the patter of rain falling quite slowly at first then more heavily, but it quickly stopped.

Yesterday I went to the deck and did a bit of cleanup. I also filled the bird feeders. The cover for the barbecue has disappeared. I checked the yard from the deck but didn’t go under the deck. My first thought was an army of squirrels has set up camp somewhere close and my cover, which already had a huge section chewed off, was perfect for their tents. Two bricks were on the top to prevent the cover from blowing off. I found those on the deck. Maybe a spawn of Satan will be back to get the bricks for their camp walkway.

I actually cleaned most of this room. I polished and washed all the curios on shelves. I did such a good job I need sunglasses now because everything shines. I also caught up with the laundry. I feel accomplished.

When I sleep, I look a bit like a question mark as I still make room for Gracie to sleep beside me.

When I was a kid, my town was my world. I never thought it was small. Uptown had wonderful stores, and the library and the post office anchored the beginning and the end of the square. Some days the square smelled like fresh bread from Hank’s Bakery or popcorn from the candy makers behind the square. O’Grady’s Diner was across the street from the library. Once in a while, my father took me to breakfast there. We sat at a booth with red vinyl seating. I used to beg for dimes or a quarter to play the juke box. Every booth had a small box, and I’d turn the pages in our booth to find a favorite song. On Saturday mornings seats at the counter were mostly filled with all men. Saturday was their errand day with stops at the Chinamen, the barber and maybe the drug store or the Redmen then finally the diner. I loved my little uptown

“In skating over thin ice, our safety is in our speed.”

December 30, 2013

Monday means breakfast at the diner. My diner is a small place with only 12 or so booths and some stools at the counter. A few regulars were there and the owners are always at the front of the house doing whatever needs to be done. They greet all the regulars and stop at the booths to chat a bit. It wasn’t too busy when I first arrived but all the booths were taken by the time I left.

The morning is cold. Yesterday throughout the day and night we had torrential rain and late last night the wind began to roar. I imagined the pine trees bending and swaying with loud creaks of protest, and when I let Gracie out this morning, I noticed a few branches, smaller ones, had fallen in the backyard. My outside Christmas lights died around 8, and the back dog lights blinked on and off for a long while. For my neighbors’ sake, I kept hoping the lights would stop blinking. They did and the yard went dark. This morning I turned on the timer for the outside lights, and nothing tripped so I guess all is well.

When I was a kid, I didn’t know anyone who traveled during Christmas vacation, and I didn’t know anyone who skied. Both of those would have been far too expensive for our family and for my neighbors. We had sleds and ice skates, and they provided winter amusement. My friends and I would skate at the swamp or on the rink at the park. That rink was put up every winter and taken down in the spring. The small building at the rink had wooden planks for seats, and we’d put our shoes, tied together, underneath the planks. The building was always warmed by a pot-bellied stove. One man worked there, and he was in charge of keeping the stove going. The skating was free, provided for by the town. I’d skate until my feet hurt.

Sometimes my mother would give us bus fare and entrance money for the MDC rink over the line in Medford, the next town. We had to walk up-town to catch the bus as it was really to far to walk. On Saturdays and school vacations, the bus was filled with skaters. The MDC rink had two fenced-in skating circles and a building with lots of seating and a refreshment stand. We’d skate a while then take a break in the warmth of the building then go back outside for more skating. We’d be there most of the day. I remember taking off my skates and how strange my feet felt. It was as if they had forgotten how to walk. We’d buy a hot chocolate then go outside and wait for the bus. I remember standing on the sidewalk and looking down the street hoping to see it coming our way. We were cold and tired and more than ready to go home.

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