“The regular, thanks for the coffee.” The morning is crisp. Slight clouds escape from my mouth as the stroller rhythmically skips across the cracks in the sidewalk. Without breaking stride, I pierce the bubble of protection around my new son. Large eyes greet my gaze, and lips part to reveal a toothless grin. He doesn’t realize we are late. I return his grin and glance up to realize we are close. An exhaust fan pokes out of Patty’s, a local diner, humming and spreading the Sunday morning village with a mix of the salty greasy smell of bacon and fresh breezes from the foggy river. The stroller wheels turn around the ﬁnal corner, and the seat’s release button gives way to my ﬁngers. Liam sways toward me, as his travel seat bumps my knee and the cold metal door handle responds to my arm as I duck inside. The warmth of the restaurant surrounds us as our eyes shift around the restaurant looking for Grandpa.
The regulars sit at their tables. The silver haired knights of Port Lambton’s round table sit at a large circle over looking the river. Coffee cups rise and fall as the conversation turns from precipitation to people. Two of the knights silently listen to the conversation and thrust cards toward each other and pegs dance around a board. The conversation swells, moments in time are measured in coffee levels.
Patty, our host and owner of the diner, peeks through the window from the grill. She grins as Liam’s brown eyes emerge from beneath warm blanket fuzz. Good morning is mouthed before turning back to her sizzling station. Small hands of the 3 month old push the blanket lower swiveling his head from left to right. The small head pauses as he sees a man in a booth. Pauses and smiles. Liam recognizes Grandpa who is sipping a coffee and reading the Sunday edition of the local paper.
We weave through the tables toward the open seat, pausing to unbuckle and slide the baby from his warm cocoon that is perched atop a neighbouring table. In one motion generations pass between the loving arms of family. Liam recognizes his grandfather with a grin then rests his head on Grandpa’s chest. I slide into the booth and am greeted by with warm dark liquid poured into a white mug. We all shift our eyes to our waitress who questions our intent for nourishment. Do we want the regular? We both nod. We both love the regular. Over easy, brown, bacon for me and a toasted western, no butter for him. We are here because it is the regular. “The regular, thanks for the coffee.”
Words begin to ﬂow about the boy. How did he sleep, eat, and poop recently? Words shift to the life events from the past week and what might happen during the approaching week. Thoughts and events are shared, moments pass as the generations of fathers ponder the meaning and concepts from life. Ideas ﬂoat toward greater awareness and mutual accountability. Questions cut through the wake of words to provide clarity of thought. The boy shifts from Grandpa’s chest into a state of gently bobbing in those loving arms. Plates slide on the table in front of them. Black ﬂecks of pepper fall onto the white eggs, yolks ooze and thick ketchup drips onto the side of the warm plates to accessorize the fragrance of toast. Lips, hands and eyes pause. Thankfulness emerges from their lips, through the regular words of gratefulness.
The moments that follow blend words, food, and thoughts together. The moments pass love between generations. The moments are shared. We are here because it is the regular. These regular moments are meaningful and treasured. Meaning is found in what we choose to make a routine. The regular places value in family, support, and love. “I’ll have the regular please, thanks for the coffee.“