Beckey's Diner - page 2
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NOTHIN’ FINAH - Becky's Diner, page 2
By Jaed Coffin

There’s wisdom within it, too. The top of one page reads: “All Happiness Depends on a Leisurely Breakfast.” The front cover: “Open 7 days a week, 362 ½ days a year, closed at noon on Christmas Eve, closed on Christmas Day and Thanksgiving.” And below it: “Because we’ve got families too.” (The Becky’s mythology claims that Becky first bought the diner when, as a single mom, she needed a flexible way to support her six kids.)


Now the truck driver wants to know what the other man does for work. “I’m retired,” he says. The driver follows up: “What did you retire from?”

The man shrugs, and mutters, “Old age.”

“No,” the driver says, “what kind of work?”

“The Waterfront,” the man says, and flicks his chin toward the kitchen exit—through which is The Waterfront.

The décor of Becky’s is worthy of note, too. The walls are adorned with photos of forty foot fishing boats getting pummeled by massive rogue waves. The Pepsi logo on the drink cooler is craftily concealed with photos of the waitstaff’s daughters. And should any sailor find themselves lost with no place to eat, above the counter hangs a long wooden sign listing Becky’s nautical coordinates: Lat 43* 49’ 2” N  Long 70* 15’ 26” W. For any travelers arriving from the south, perhaps this will fit into your car’s OnStar GPS.

Somehow, I’ve eaten the entire Wharf Special. I should be ashamed of myself, but instead, I am happy. So I open the local Portland Sun, which, since the grander Portland Press Herald announced its imminent demise, is offered for free. The Sun is a slim paper, but its few pages contain a perfect slice of the contemporary and crucial issues of this state:
1. A lobsterman was recently arrested for possessing an egg bearing female. (In Maine this is very, very bad. Seriously.)

2. Cocaine dealers from New York City were arrested downtown. (In Portland, for better or worse, we are now subject to big city problems.)

3. An editorial explain that Muslim women should expect to be able to buy wedding lingerie from female Muslim saleswomen. (Portland and Lewiston are home to vibrant refugee communities, making America’s whitest state a culturally dynamic place.)

4. The Red Sox won a spring training game. (Maine is the northernmost point of Red Sox nation.)

5. Local farmers are thriving with organic agriculture. (Maine is still very wholesome.)

By 6:45am, the leisurely morning crowd is at its peak.  This is Maine, after all, where people take pride in an early rise work ethic, even if that just means getting up for breakfast. By 7am, the breakfast crowd has thinned, which means that Becky’s is only about three quarters full now. On a weekend in winter, the diner is packed to the walls, out the door, into the parking lot. People will endure subzero temperatures for a homemade muffin. In a matter of weeks, the back deck of Becky’s will be open, and by summer, the late night window service will feed the happy bar crowds in the buzzing Old Port.

My plate is clean, my mug empty—and yet I feel as if something is missing. Millie slides a glass of ice water in front of me. This is blows my mind. “I was just thinking of that,” I tell her.

“I know,” she says. “You ate a lot of food, you drank a lot of coffee. I figured you needed something to drink.”

Ah. An ice cold watah. Nothin’ Finah.

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