Tuesday, July 23, 2019

[Kings Waffle] Chapter 8: It's Been a Minute

After years of sitting at the low counter and the “stoop” (curb) out front with everyone, I started writing about Waffle House, our Waffle House. At the time, I needed that specific Waffle House more than ever. Just as quickly as the words and photographs started coming together, though, they stopped. Life often pulls people in different directions, a typical occurrence with no regard to personal connection. You may have known someone for a lifetime, a few years, or only through the occasional shared cigarette in the parking lot, but it doesn’t really matter—no matter how good your intentions or effort may be, time is always pulling.

It’s always been my intent to get back to "Kings Waffle" (both the ongoing stories and physical place) and there’s been a few visits here and there, but I don’t know if I could pass as a “regular” anymore. Ironically, I moved closer and went even less (and haven’t been the weekly free coffee winner in nearly five years).

But, I found myself back there last week. Two nights in a row.

These photographs don’t really add to the overall story other than they represent what so many waffle evenings were like years ago (that suburban parking lot can be a special place when the sun's laying low in the summer). I don’t even know if I have anything new to say about the place or the nostalgia surrounding it (and what comes with it). It was nice to be back, though. I like the food at Waffle House, but hardly ever order an actual waffle. In fact, I’m pretty indifferent towards Waffle House as a concept/brand/restaurant. Yeah, the food’s decent, the coffee’s great, and they’re the closest thing many Midwestern highway exits have to a true diner, but I’ve always been more interested and concerned with my specific Waffle House and the people there. So, yeah, I’m aware of the disaster-scale thing and I’ve sampled the delicious, somewhat new hash brown bowls, but I’ll gladly drive past four or five closer locations to get to this specific one.

My friend Nathan got married this past weekend. He was in Chapter 5 (“origin stories"). Groomsmen included: The Mayor [Chapter 5], The Supreme Chancellor [Chapter 2], Ryan Texas Ranger [often mentioned, never pictured], and myself. I know Nathan not from The Waffle House, but because of The Waffle House. We first met well outside of the restaurant’s yellow glow, but have definitely shared the majority of our conversations while basking in it. It was an honor to be featured in his wedding party and traveling north for the nuptial-related activities was a good excuse to get a few folks back to watching fireworks beneath the flickering sign.

- The Wizard.

"Well Ron, it's been a minute," The Wiz [Chapter 2] said when he saw me.

He wasn't wrong.

I’ve got a lot of portraits made of other regulars from back when I myself was a regular. Any bio I write for them probably wouldn’t be current, but it would be a decent representation of how I knew those folks then. To continue this series, the tense needs to shift from present to past. I’ve tried to make time for them (and have made some decent headway here and there), but even when I force myself up to Kings Waffle so I can sit and write in the actual environment, I still run into someone I know and ditch composition for coffee and conversation.

Guess I need to send some text messages and dig up some old notes.


Next Chapter: Coming Soon
Previous Chapter: The Wednesday Night Kids


  1. Fell into reading this series by complete chance and thoroughly enjoyed every minute. You really captured, better than anyone I've ever seen, what makes the waffle so special. 5 years ago I walked into a waffle house for the first time ever at the age of 15, and for the first time in my life, I found somewhere I wanted to spend all my time. A year later I started working at the same store. It was my first job. As I come up on 4 years of working there, I think about the thousands of hours I've spent within those 4 walls, washing dishes and pouring coffee and flipping eggs, but what stands out to me most are the stories I'll be able to tell my whole life, and all the unique characters I've had the chance to meet. I cherish all of the friends that I've made under the globe lights, all the conversations that kept me company through slow nights. It warms my heart to know that this place means so much to you, the way my store means everything to me. Thank you so much for this beautiful series. You are a talented writer, and your photos are amazing.
    Much love from Unit 874.

    1. Hey Anon, thank you so much for the kind words—I'm glad you enjoy the series. Hopefully I'll get up to some new posts soon. I can't begin to describe how much I loved reading your comment from the details to the sentiments expressed. Waffle House, I can imagine, probably takes a good deal of patience to work at. Thanks for all that you do. If I ever get down to GA again, I'll have to stop into your store.

      PS. Would you mind if I share this comment in a new post?

    2. Go right ahead. :) looking forward to more stories of king’s waffle

    3. Thanks so much! Chipping away at other stuff then back to the waffle...