The teen had evening plans; my husband did not have a gig. So there we were, on New Year’s Eve, just the two of us. We dropped off the kids at the movie theater and looked at each other. We’re not big partiers, as you may have suspected. We’re pretty much homebodies in the face of most end of the year social offerings.
My husband had an idea.
“Why don’t we go to the Double T Diner and have dessert?” he suggested. “You’re always saying we should do that, and we never have.”
“Let’s do it!”
And so that is how we ended up on Route 40 last night at around seven pm. As we pulled in to the Double T I marveled at the changes to the surrounding landscape. It’s almost as though someone installed a “shopping center in a box” over there. The old diner looks a bit weary in the face of the gleaming lights of all the new eating establishments next door: Glory Days, Café Bene, River House Pizza, Sizzle Kebab, Zen Garden...
But, despite looking like the little place that time forgot, the old diner had plenty of patrons on the last night of the year. A sign by the door announced that they'd be closing at 8:20. Only half of the restaurant was open. The dining room was still decorated for Christmas, and the wait staff were wearing New Year’s Eve tiaras. Here and there one could see what looked like a variety of “Elf on a Shelf” dolls hanging from the ceiling. It gave a vaguely “Paper Moon” sort of quirky feel to the otherwise staid atmosphere.
I had a chance last night to order dessert. I passed the dazzling display of sugary delights. I considered the suggestions on the menu, especially one that included apple pie, pecan pie, vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce. And then I ordered dinner. I just wanted dinner. A good old diner Greek- inspired chicken sandwich with chicken noodle soup. And when I had finished eating I was too full for dessert.
Does anyone ever have room for dessert at the Double T? They must, or else why would they keep making them? While we were there the someone on the wait staff announced, “We have a Birthday in the room tonight, folks!” All conversation ceased as an enormous slice of cake was borne to the table and we all sang happy birthday for a rather daunted little boy.
In some fast casual chain restaurants one endures the compulsory parade of waiters singing a happy clappy birthday song. Most of us fervently wish it will never happen to us. This was different. Maybe because it was New Year’s Eve, maybe because it was the little old diner that time forgot. Everyone joined in. Everyone was engaged in the moment. I had a feeling of community, of shared experience.
I hope you enjoyed your New Year’s Eve celebration. Mine was simple. The very best part was the chance to spend some time alone with my husband and engage in good conversation. Not about work, or the to-do list, or parental concerns. About hopes and dreams and personal goals. About ideas. Such a rare and delicious treat.
Possibly even more delicious than the (as yet untasted) desserts in the glass case at the Double T.