A DYING BREED

A long morning it’s been. On the road from daughter Vanessa’s house in Sutton, MA. to home. Pittstown, N.J., that is. Hunger overtook us before we completed the journey. Breakfast was at the Morristown Diner. Yes, New Jersey that is.

Our conversation touched on what a unique slice of Americana that diners are. They’re all a little retro, seemingly regardless of where you might dine at one. Morristown was no exception.

Our waitress, it may reasonably be presumed, was a seasoned veteran. She’d obviously been doing this for untold years. Ours was yet another table in the progression of this decade of customers. How was this place still in business?

My Eggs Benedict were, how you say, quizzical. Sure, they tasted as they were supposed to, but the Hollandaise Sauce was sort of a lurid, garish orangey-yellow color that gave the appearance of, perhaps, a Halloween decoration. Safe to say, this was NOT your grandma’s Hollandaise.

To accent our discussion, Jude reminded me of my stomach of steel, Years ago, we’d been on the long journey from Tuckaway South back to Tuckaway Pittstown. Daylight was waning on this Mother’s Day, one of the busiest restaurant days of the year.

We stopped to eat at the only restaurant that was still open, a place called Johnnie Appleseed’s. This was in Luray, Virginia. We learned from a waitress that this was the last of what used to be a chain of Johnnie Appleseed locations. Perhaps my Eggs Benedict were this location’s last gasp !

When it comes to eating, I am admittedly of the old school, that is the “Eat what’s in front of you” protocol. Given my parents, how could I not be? I wolfed down those eggs, even though their appearance may have suggested a name change for the dish : Eggs Misbegotten

FREEZER BURNED

I should know better. No, wait a minute, I do know better. Before pushing the “Publish” button on these occasional missives, Jude should first have a read. The chance that I’ve forgotten something is real.

She reminded me of a key epicurean detail of our lunch at the restaurant in Luray, Virginia. But before that, a note about the statue. Outside on the lawn of Johnnie Appleseed’s is a monstrous, plastic statue of the man himself. My best guess? 16 feet tall and hokey beyond description. Assuredly it has often been said, however, “you can’t miss it”.

But, there we were, dining with a stellar view of his likeness out the window. We should have put it together before entering, but it wasn’t until the waiter told us of this place’s impending demise that the fare might be a tad suspect.

Nonetheless, I ordered the dish that posed the greatest chance of post-traumatic freezer burn: Seafood Medley ! Yes, it was marginal. Yes, I finished it. No, I’ve never been allowed to forget my choice!

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