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Of Diners and Avantis

Added: Wednesday, January 25th 2023 at 1:25pm by epiphanettes

I love diners, those places were the waitress calls everyone ‘honey,’ where the food is just short of too greasy, and the check for a complete breakfast is less than ten bucks. There are still such places, but they’re vanishing.

Back when I drove to Florida a couple of times a year, I would always stop at a Waffle House just outside Savannah. One time I drove my Avanti, an uncommon car conceived by the French designer Raymond Loewe. There aren’t too many Avantis around, and I owned (and still have) one of 500 convertible models ever created.

I pulled into the Waffle House parking lot. I noticed a waitress eyeing the car. I entered the restaurant, sat at a booth, and the waitress came to the table.

She poured a cup of stygian black coffee and asked, “What kinda car is that?”

I told her it was an Avanti, a car far ahead of its time and initially created to save the Studebaker company from bankruptcy. It failed to do so and took its place among such automobiles as the Cord, the Bricklin, and the ill-fated Delorean, made iconic in the Back to the Future films.

I ordered eggs, sausage, rye toast and hash browns. I’ve been to a dozen or so Waffle Houses and they all smell the same, redolent of bacon grease, maple syrup, and burnt coffee.

I finished eating and the waitress gave me the check, then asked, “Can you give me a ride home? My shift is over in five minutes, and I’ve never been in an Avanti…”

She must have noticed my surprise. “It’s five minutes from here… I don’t like walking alone at night. Usually, one of the cooks will drive me but he’s out sick today.”

So I drove her home to a small house just off the main road.  She thanked me, said, “Nice car,” paused at her front door and looked for her keys. She entered her home and that was that—no movie ending, no seduction, no greater adventure than driving a tired stranger home.

More recently, a woman in a Trader Joe parking lot exclaimed, “Is that an Avanti?” Her boyfriend 30 years ago drove one, and she had fond memories.

Today I drove the car to a local diner, a fifteen-table establishment and for $10 plus tip, got an excellent breakfast and drank far too much coffee. I could see where the car was parked, and a family stopped to look at it. The father circled the car, bent down to peer at the Avanti nametag on the car’s trunk lid. They took a table nearby and I heard him say, “Yeah, those were made in France. Avanti means forward in French.” Close enough. I didn’t correct him.

User Comments

Heh heh, it's only drinking far too much coffee when doing so causes you to sleep less than normal at night.

Diners rule!  I gather from your post you're a table guy. I'm a counter girl, myself, unless I'm with someone.

I've been in recovery for decades. Sitting at the ounter is too muh like sitting at a bar :-)

That makes perfect sense.

Very Good Story.Well done

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