While out and about, running errands, Scott and I decided to stop for a lunch date, our energy depleted. We rarely do that, and even more rarely do we stop at The Landing, and if we DO go to the Landing, we usually go upstairs to the pub, not the diner downstairs.
But today we did. We ate at the diner. There is something about diners in general, and The Landing in particular that I love. The smell of coffee and bacon just hits you when you walk in the door. Dishes clank and there is the white noise of animated conversations. The place is echo-y and loud. Today three young waitresses pause and visit, laughing and exchanging child rearing advice. They are absolutely adorable.
Three guys are seated at the counter, and even though I don’t get here often, I know they come. Every. Single. Day. Sometimes they talk, sometimes they joke and laugh, kidding around with the waitress behind the counter. She pauses to fill a cup, lean in and listen. She knows their names. She knows their families. She knows them.
They get there early and sit, elbows on the counter drinking cup after cup of coffee, baseball caps pushed back, flannel shirts, rough hands around white mugs. Long since retired they might have been fishermen, maybe mill workers. Who knows? The fact is, they have known each other since they were young men, possibly their whole lives.
I look past the guys at the counter to the round booth in the corner facing the fire station. It was raining out, a misty warm rain in August. Our first taste of typical Ketchikan weather. That is where we sat, that exact booth. Twenty-three years ago. A much younger Scott and Beth with a tiny newborn Gracie. We were excited. Scott had just accepted a job with the borough, and we sat in that booth and discussed how we would make it work. Move to Ketchikan from Anchorage? Leave our families? We sat there and decided. Two years. He should take the job and we would live here two years.
And even though we don’t get here often, there were other booths, other occasions, other memories. Piling in the “big booth” with the girls and their friends. Gracie’s favorite, “One + One + One.” Stopping after a long and snowy morning cutting our own Christmas tree for hot chocolate and comfort food.
Scott and I finish our lunch. We stand at the counter and pay the bill, and in the case are the pies. Really beautiful pies. Golden crust, fluffy meringue, drizzled chocolate. But we talk ourselves out of dessert and leave so we can continue our errands.
We have a lot to do, but it was a nice to walk down memory lane.