We entered the Waffle House for breakfast. It was typical: warm, friendly, and mildly frenetic. The staff is mostly African American; the clientele is mixed, and the food is wonderful—down home, fresh and made with love.
The staff speak to each other in a shortcut sort of speech. The cooks don’t write anything down. They just know. There was a table for two free, so we moved in that direction. Eileen sat down, but I hesitated since there was a man sitting right next to our booth, at the counter. I felt compelled to say something to him.
He was African-American and he looked straight at me. I was a little wary about speaking to the locals, because the night before, outside a restaurant, we overheard two white men talking. They had thick southern accents, and I could make out perhaps one out of every 4 words.
But, back to Santee:
Me: Howya doin’?
Him: Garbled, unintelligible sentence to me.
Me: Excuse me.
Him: Garbled, unintelligible sentence.
Me: Um. I’m sorry, but I don’t……
Him: Garbled , unintelligible sentence.
Me: Ya know, I’m from the north and I…..
Him: Speaking much slower “It’s goin’ to get warmer.”
Me: That’d be nice. Take care. (As I turn to sit down and contemplate placing an order with the waitress.)
JOHNNY MERCER, a son of the South: “Shooby Doin'”
Addendum. The Waffle House is my favorite restaurant along the Rt. 95 east coast corridor. Here is a link to a prior article which we wrote about it.