It is an easy menu, uncomplicated. There are listings for daily omelette specials, but I never go that way in my ordering. I nod to the coffee that is offered within two minutes of my being seated. I do not make pancakes at home and I do not know how to make hash so any breakfast out often features one or the other.
I relish the quiet in the paneled tavern room where I sit. Regulars at the counter may chat with the staff, but other early customers like the quiet too. Sometimes I bring a book.
At 8 o’clock the next morning I walked into a tavern room that was filling up.
The conversations were no longer just the quiet banter with staff. I heard things I had not planned on hearing, spoken with the bonhomie of professional travelers. One group seated at the counter talked about their college choices fifty and sixty years earlier. For some of the women speaking, college had frankly been a strategy for finding a husband. One well-heeled woman confided that she had known she would have no trouble getting married and so had not considered college for a second.
They sounded like people intent on enjoying themselves. They were glad to have others at hand to whom they could say what they liked.
When I had paid my bill and walked outside to my car, I welcomed the soft cold air of a September morning on the Cape. As I pulled out of my parking spot, I watched three couples from the counter approaching their cars. In each case, a husband walked to the door on the driver’s side; the woman took her time reaching the passenger door.
It looked so clear. As though it would always be this way.
I felt surprised in remembering that it did not need to.