It was a lovely New England summer day last May when Babs and I pulled up for brunch at Josephs II on Main Street in Waltham, Massachusetts. It'd been 8 years since I'd been a regular here. Maybe 3 or 4 years since I last showed up. Would she remember me? Was she even still there?
I poked my head through the door, and smiled. There she was, across the room, in all her strawberry blonde glory, not having aged a day from how I remembered her. I walked up to her.
Linda turned. "Well look who's heeeyeah," she drawled in that working class Boston twang I loved, with a slightly upcurled lip, "Where the hell you been, and why'd you have to show up on the day I have a cold and look like creeyap?"
I reckon every university student has a favourite diner in their college town -- somewhere they and their varsity mates can stumble into late on a weekend morning, and mend their hangovers with the best that greasyspoonamericana has to offer, while trading stories about last night's party or analysing a date to death. Gut-hugging, heart-stopping American breakfasts aside, Linda was the reason Josephs II was mine.
Linda never did the blindingly sunny and gratingly chirpy schtick at work (morning-person chirpiness is not my thing on my best days, let alone when I've still got gin from the night before still swishing about in my brain). But my god, she never got an order wrong, and she could always ALWAYS tell when I was just about to ask for more coffee, and beat me to the punch.
I introduced her to Babs, and we did the slightly sheepish shuffly "sorry the college boyfriend didn't work out" shrug and smile. She asked about my family whom I introduced her to when we all trooped in for lunch during my graduation. What a memory!
"So you wanna eat, or what?"
I checked the specials board. Damn. Too early in the summer for lobster-claw rolls, and no luck with prime rib hash (always worth checking for on a Saturday morning, where instead of corned beef fried with hash, the chef uses Friday night's left over prime rib shavings).
So I went with my regular favourite -- ham and cheese croissant, with crispy-edged home fries and a side of french toast. Babs went for french toast with bananas, with fried eggs with cheese.
Linda came by with a pot of coffee. "You look about ready for a refill."
"Everythin else ok heeyeah?"
Josephs II Family Restaurant
805 Main St
Waltham, Massachusetts 02451-0601
+1 781 899 4754