When we walked into the Waffle House in the center of the big city we were the only white faces in the place. A crew of bright eyed young people greeted us as gospel music played from the modern day juke box. A young woman whose name tag said, “Queen” stood making more selections while her fellow servers shook their heads. I got the distinct impression that ‘Queen’ was ruler of the music in the place. The screen kept advertising other types of music but the entire time we were there the only songs we heard were from Fred Hammond, Yolanda Adams, Kirk Franklin and others I didn’t readily recognize.
We really didn’t need to look at the menu, my husband loves Waffle House and knows exactly what he orders every time. I sometimes vary in my choice depending on whether he wants to share his waffle or not. Our little server, Monique, was obviously new on the job, but was sailing through her training under watchful eyes of others no older than she.
After a few minutes, I noticed this seemed to be a predominantly “take out” Waffle House. I was sitting in direct view of customers coming and going. Being a people watcher by nature I was mesmerized.
A young man came in with the longest dreadlocks I have ever seen. I wanted to take a picture with my phone to send to my older son. He has a strange fascination with “dreads.” I usually think they are rather dirty looking, but this guy wore them well. I can’t imagine the particular challenges involved in having matted ropes of hair all the way down the back clear to the thigh area. They didn’t seem to bother him at all.
A tiny college coed gracefully waited for her order with her powder blue sweater set and pearls. The emblem she wore was from Spellman Glee Club. I found out later there was a celebration of gospel music being held in the city, I pictured her with the hundreds of other smiling faces singing traditional songs, clapping and stepping in time.
Dozens of people were served as we ate our midday breakfast. A few actually sat in the booths or at the counter, but most were in a hurry to get on with their Saturday morning. I suppose that is part of city life even on the weekend.
The Waffle House team moved around each other like choreographed dancers. They called out orders and answered cheerfully, once I heard what sounded like a reprimand from one of the cooks, but everything else seemed to be cordial enough. The atmosphere was busy but peaceful at the same time.
Maybe it had something to do with Queen’s choice of music.