Saturday, September 20, 2008
Sunrise At The Waffle House
I haven't been in a while but I woke up this morning hungry for the Waffle House. "Mornin!" I love how the staff greets you as soon as you walk in. "How are ya?" As soon as I sit down, boom - there's the coffee. "Do you know what you want?" The assumption is I come here all the time like many of their regulars and would know right away what I want. "Give me a minute please." Sooo much to choose from but I settle on the cheese eggs, bacon, grits and raisin toast. They even have Worcestershire sauce on the table with all the other condiments. As I give my order she asks if I would like to substitute tomato slices for the grits. Suddenly, an image of Mary pops in my head (She didn't go with me this morning but encourages me to eat healthy) and I say "yes, that sounds good." I sit there quietly waiting on my breakfast, wishing I had brought along the sports section. I glance out the window toward Tates Creek Rd and I see an American flag, a church steeple and the big Waffle House sign with the sun coming up in the background. You had to be there. I felt like standing up and saluting. Suddenly, I'm snapped out of my daydreaming by a couple getting out of their car. I think I know him. They sit a few booths away, just close enough for me to observe a little better. As I'm checking them out, he looks right at me and I look away quickly. Maybe he recognizes me because now I know who he is. He's Mike Reilly, my resident advisor at Holmes Hall at UK when I was a freshman back in 1975. It's only been 33 years, surely he'll recognize me too. I'm finishing up my coffee and tomato slices thinking, 'should I say something before I leave?' "Excuse me....excuse me" I say loud enough for most of the people in the Waffle House to hear. "Weren't you an RA at Holmes Hall in 1975?" "Ahh...yeah." "You're Mike Reilly aren't you?" He's freaking out a little bit now. "Yes I am" he says. "I'm Mike West and was on your floor with the UK basketball players." "Mike West? I recognize the name but I would never have recognized you." I'm pretty good at recognizing people and knowing where I saw them. As I begin to walk out, I get up and shake his hand and tell him "you were a good RA." "I was scared to death when I first got to UK....you were a good RA." He is genuinely appreciative. As I walk to my car, I take another glance at the sun coming up behind the Waffle House sign and think to myself, next time, I'll know what I want to order right away. I like the Waffle House.