Thursday, April 1, 2010

When Good is not good enough

Mr. and Mrs. Hall were driving in to Syracuse, when Mrs. Hall's cellphone rang. "Mom, where are you? I thought you were going to be here by now! The line is out the door and the news trucks are setting up remote feeds all over." "Get in and get us a table," said Mrs. Hall; then she turned to Mr. Hall and said, "Better kick in the afterburners, dear- it looks like there's a crowd."

By the time they arrived at Doc's Little Gem Diner, Master Ian and a friend of his were nearly up to the door in the line, and just as they were sizing up the situation, Mistress Colleen and several of her friends arrived, too. "I had to explain to them where I was going, and they wanted to come."
Inside, the diners showed very little desire to move; no one wanted to leave as it drew nearer to 10:00 pm- the time posted last week on the menu board. The place that still had neon lights proclaiming "We Never Close" was finally fixing dinner for one last time. There must have been almost a hundred people or more, trying to cram into a diner meant to hold at most, fifty; some were peeking in the windows, others waited shortly, then when they realized they weren't going to be able to get in, ended up just milling about in the parking lot, wiping their eyes. Master Ian came through, and soon the Halls were seated in the corner booth. Colleen and her friends at one point tried to squeeze in along side the table, but there was just no more room. They opted to watch from an outside vantage point.
The press had made several appearances earlier in the day for heartfelt interviews with Doc and his cronies, and the wait staff at a few times seemed on the verge of breaking down as they struggled to serve the patrons whom they had come to know almost as family.
Mr. Hall tried to order a chocolate milkshake; no good- they were out of chocolate. A bowl of ice cream? Nope, all out of ice cream. He settled for a cup o' decaf, but the boys ate some cheeseburgers in record time and managed to down two glasses of drinks as well. Ah, youth, remarked Mrs. H. as she rubbernecked around the room; reporters from a couple of the local stations were interviewing people behind them as they ate. Mrs. Hall was interviewed in the parking lot by a SU student working on a media project. It was ironically clear; Doc's Little Gem was garnering more attention closing than he had while trying to make a living.
As they finished eating around 10:15 pm, it was evident things were winding down. Mr. Hall paid his final tab, and said good bye to the staff. Mrs. H. went over to Doc to shake his hand and in his usual fashion, he took her hand and kissed it. Waving farewell to the fellow diners straggling slowly out of the door, one question was on everyone's mind: Where will we go now?
The Monitor will keep its readers posted when or if Doc makes another Syracuse appearance. Until then, stay tuned.


Anonymous said...

what scares me are Doc's comments that he can't make a go of it unless he was to expand.
Either that is a cop out or it means no one will be able to make the Little Gem work in its current state.

Penguin Hall said...

You make a good point. It's been a hard winter for Doc and maybe he's just tired. But that doesn't mean someone else couldn't make a go of the business, just the way it is, on that corner. In any case, we look forward to seeing the Little Gem shine once more.

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