At the Clover Grill Diner.

Breakfast at The Clover Grill, an old-fashioned US diner, blue collar as. Love it: waiters in white aprons and caps, greasy spoon rules, ‘World Famous Always Open. We love to fry and it shows’. Go where the truckies stop, I say. ‘No separate checks. Please do not push tables together’. Sure.

I got biscuits and gravy coming, with scrambled eggs (the former are the last on my list to try). They even have Shakes and Malts: shades of all those Archie comics from the 1950s. Pretty male-oriented here, of course – no sign of Veronica, but plenty of Jugheads.

Ok, kai time, that gravy looks nice and gooey. Gotta try. Mmmm, not bad: ‘gravy’ tastes a bit like a peppery stew minus any meat, and biscuits are a kind of soft dough, like a fried scone.

God loves American diners: here the people dwell, here the Republic of Walt Whitman parks its demim arse on a red-topped barstool and chows down over the day’s news with the jukebox wailing out a workingman’s blues.

I could get quite lyrical over this, but the eggs and the coffee are cooling down fast. Cafe du Monde, who needs you? I clean up the plate and as the surface appears from under the eggs and toast, a criss-cross pattern of knife marks left by former diners shows up on it. Wonder what the plate is made of? Who was the last one was that left their mark?

My waiter touches my arm as I write and asks if I want more coffee? He’s well disposed I guess, as I tipped him, but after we earlier had a chat about gravy and biscuits (he’s new on the job), I wonder now as I did then about something in his eyes? He’s not your typical Springsteen US male.


About paparoa

Writer and researcher.
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