My first trip to the Milford Diner for 2013 turned out to be a very important one. I walked in, sat down in the small booth where I usually sit and Freddy provided a lovely cup of hot coffee. I wrapped both my hands around it since it is VERY cold — it hadn’t reached 20 by the time I went to the diner this morning and is not expected to go above freezing until next week, but that’s another story. It was quiet for a few minutes and then I was quickly engaged in conversation about my blog. Kenny and Judy (we have now been formally introduced) sit at the same small booth every day so I wished them a Happy New Year before I sat down. Somehow we got to the fact that I am “the letter writer.” Judy said it had driven her crazy and she even asked the owner to view the surveillance tapes. The reason they thought this would work is because (1) they needed to settle the argument of whether the writer was a woman or a man; and (2) the conversation about generators made in the USA I reported on in an earlier blogpost was their very conversation! Judy owns a local home decor shop, aptly named Judy’s. She said she used all of her detective skills (very Nancy Drew!) to try to figure it out. Nancy didn’t tell anyone even though she knew well before Christmas, which I thought was fabulous but somehow we got to it this morning. I learned a lot today!
Kenny said that the diner is the place where you get all the news, who’s sick, who’s doing what because the same people come in every day pretty much at the same time too. “It is like this in diners anywhere,” he said. This is what makes them so special in towns like Milford. Apparently I am now part of the diner culture whether I want to or not! We talked for awhile about the nature of the diner and the nature of blogging. It really made me think about the difference between blogging a good story and invading someone’s privacy. I mentioned this to Judy and Kenny and they both agreed that most conversations in the diner were for general consumption and there was no real expectation of privacy. Even so….
Nancy sat down (now I really feel included!) and talked with me for a few minutes. We tried to figure out how she realized that it was me that “wrote the letter!” I think it had something to do with Beth and her mother-in-law being a waitress, but I’m not sure anymore. Nancy and I discussed the idea of wanting people to read the blog and I told everyone within earshot that the comments had been overwhelmingly positive and that my friends want to come visit. Most of the people I talked with this morning, however, don’t own computers. Perhaps that’s one reason the diner is such an important part of life here. The owner came over and chatted for a moment or two and the lovely young woman behind the cash register waved. It was a red-letter morning for sure!
I think that pretty soon they may want to know more about me. Already I know a lot about some of them. Kenny used to work for Hemlock Farms and he and his sister Judy are lifelong Milford residents. It is a perfect example of small town living at its best — people caring about one another on many levels, being comfortable with asking personal questions that showed their concern, and being friendly enough to begin to include a total stranger from Florida. Judy asked me if she’d see me tomorrow morning and I guess she will. Maybe this is just the thing I need to get me focused for the new year and move forward with my life in the mountains. Tomorrow I’m going to ask them if it’s okay to take a few photos.