For no particular reason, I went to the diner three times this week — Monday, Thursday, and Friday. It was a slow week in Lord’s Valley! When I arrived on Monday, Susie served me (I had met her before) although she didn’t know what I typically ordered. “Where is Nancy?” I asked. “She’s gone. Yesterday was her last day.” Everyone was talking about it but she had mentioned for some time getting a job closer to her family. Apparently Nancy had been at The Milford Diner for 13 years becoming close friends with many of the regulars and with the owners as well. The consensus was that things just won’t be the same without Nancy. My reaction, as a newbie, was one of happiness for Nancy who apparently is going to be purchasing manager at a company where family members work. If that makes her happy, then it’s a good thing. I like Susie and was comfortable with her although there were a few people who felt that they might not be able to keep coming to the diner now that Nancy’s gone. We all know, however, that this is an idle threat to add to the drama of the morning.
By the time I went back on Thursday, however, my attitude had changed a bit. And today, someone I had never seen before waited on me and I must admit to feeling a little uncomfortable and not quite as welcome as usual. Of course, people said hello, I had a short conversation with Judy, and sat and read my book without worrying about how long I sat there (not long). It was quite crowded this morning since it’s the start of the Milford Music Festival, also billed by the Dimmick Inn as Brooklyn Day. There doesn’t seem to be any direct connection with Brooklyn at all except for a game of stickball scheduled for tomorrow morning; stickball being a city street game. The festival looks like fun with bands playing at different venues around town culminating in a performance by Pete Seeger (sold out!) at the Milford Theatre. So, the diner was full today but it often is on Fridays during spring and summer when tourists and seasonal people return. (Do I sound like a native now that I refer to outsiders as tourists and seasonal people?!)
Yesterday, the “Thursday Boys” were at their usual tables in the back, so there didn’t seem to be any mass movement to leave because Nancy was no longer serving. I will certainly keep driving the 12 miles down the interstate for breakfast. Yesterday, I convinced Judy to open her store so I could buy some candles so the diner experience was enhanced by shopping all before 10:00 AM. I wish Nancy all the best but I, too, miss her and miss the easy conversation which I do not expect happening with any of the other waitresses. Freddie still brought my coffee but I must agree with the other diner regulars, it just wasn’t the same.