Breakfast in the diner

Wake up and the landscape has changed.
City streets are gone and there’s nothing outside the window but a golden prairie and snow fences and telegraph lines going up and down and shiny rails heading back.
The orderly seating arrangements have changed to shades up, shades down, sleeping, sprawling and dozing with blankets or sweaters or coats because the train got a little cool last night.

Push the button and the door slides to the side with a whoosh
Step between the cars and push the next button, whoosh
It’s just the same, early morning sleeping, dozing and waking.
Push the door button and you enter the next car and the air is warm and humid and heavy with the smell of sausage and coffee and muffins.
Pots and pans clang and muffled kitchen voices can be heard as you walk down the side corridor.
“Good morning, sir, how many for breakfast?”

The world rushes by as the steward seats you at a table with a smiling gray haired lady.
Be polite and listen to her questions, she’s from New York or Pittsburgh or someplace.
You race through towns where the people look up but this train never stops.
“Yes, my grandmother’s”.
Pancakes or eggs?
“8 o’clock, but I think we’re about 45 minutes late”.
You pick up the slip, “To avoid errors in service our employees are instructed to take orders only on written meal checks”.
“Cleveland”.
Fill out the meal check: scrambled eggs, sausage, toast and butter, milk.
“Eighth grade”

As passengers wobble in and out the waiter glides through the dining car with your breakfast and sets it there just so.
Heavy silverware, dishes with emblems, a water goblet on a white tablecloth and a breakfast that is wonderful at 80 miles per hour with a rose in the vase there by the window.

The change comes back on the brown tray and you leave a tip that produces a,
“Thank you, sir; we’ll see you for lunch”.
But, he won’t.
That clanging of pots and pans signals a meal that isn’t for you.
Whoosh and whoosh and nobody has moved and outside it’s a golden prairie and snow fences and telegraph lines going up and down and shiny rails heading back.

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