Krista’s challenge for WP Bloggers ~ watch closely, observe, and “collect people, places, and things”. It’s a nudge to beef up that writing toolkit, hone skills, push boundaries. Oh, and write a few paragraphs.
Writer’s block? Candice Fox says be unafraid.
Under the grey-white skies of early morning, folks brew a pot of coffee and watch the snow pile up near the Masonic Temple. The Littleton Courier reports a crew from Bethlehem Junction is preparing a foundation for a new structure due to arrive today. Men, women and children hurry to the railroad tracks. And this is what they see: a modern 1930 parlor car. A few months later, Eugene and Stella Stone open its door and 25 people sit down to dinner.
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On Main Street ~ past the window stacked with bestsellers, past the hardware store with its picks and shovels, just beyond the red slides and blue swings at the daycare center ~ is the Littleton Diner. It’s like your favorite easy chair ~ part circus, part command post and all pleasure. Think: ducktails and bobby-sox, burgers and fries.
Not much has changed since Bette Davis was in town to celebrate the world premiere of her movie, The Great Lie, in 1941. Some say she nursed a raspberry-flavored lemonade at the gleaming silver counter. Others insist she poured pure North Country maple syrup on her short stack of buckwheat pancakes.
The diner is authentic, unpretentious, and takes root inside you. Nostalgia hangs out by the cash register, memories pop – a first date, the malt after the school dance, the rumble of the glass-pack on a ’57 Chevy, the red-ribbed seat of a hot-rod convertible. Souvenir mugs spill over shelves and T-shirts nudge sacks of flour, stone ground by the gristmill on the banks of the Ammonusuc River.
The waitress is immersed in a cryptogram, brow furrowed, pencil scratching. I ask her if she does Suduko. No, I don’t like numbers, she says, never did like this either, but I tried it once and now I’m hooked. She hands me a menu. It tells the story of Eugene and Stella, the couple who ordered a “modern parlor car” the same year that William Howard Taft called the Supreme Court to order. In the true diner tradition, breakfast is served all day. Industrial-strength hash and eggs headline the menu; assorted pastries and short-order specials share the page with frappes and floats.
Thwap. Thwap. In the kitchen, a mallet pounds meat. Then the door swings open and a gregarious fellow with a preference for fair trade coffee comes out for a cup. He sports a tie-dye T-shirt and a neat ponytail. We shoot the breeze, talk about the old days. Things are changing, he says, it isn’t the same. Summer, folks lock their cars. Winter, it’s cold; they leave ‘em runnin’. Hey, Merry Christmas to anybody looking for wheels. He tells me about a SawzAll. Them hooligans use ‘em to cut off catalytic converters, and then sell them to the scrap man at 100 bucks a pop.
The guestbook has a slew of entries from visitors around the world. Strangers become friends here. They order up a slice of America, drop affable one-liners, stay a while, take it easy. And in the back booth, you can almost hear Eugene and Stella having a high old time of it.