The reason I kept coming back was because of the pie. The diner was 50 miles out of my way, but at least once a week, I stopped in for a “Plate of Sunshine.” It was the lemon meringue with a meringue so big that a normal dessert plate wouldn’t do, and they’d serve it to you on a dinner plate. With whipped cream. On the side. The lemon was sharp, tangy and melted in your mouth. The meringue was like eating clouds, and took away the edge of the lemony-ness.
I liked to take my time with this pie. No coffee. Just a glass of ice cold tap water. I would spend so much time eating this pie, I’d often end up late for dinner. At home. With my wife. And kids.
But they could wait.
The pie came first.
This pie was so good that it didn’t matter that the service was shitty. The waitress recognized me and served me with a smile. Sometimes. She never asked questions or got to know me. That was fine. I wasn’t here for her. I was here for the pie and I was happy that she recognized that.
I tried to ask for a pie-to-go one day.
But the waitress glared at me and so, I always ate in, listening to an oldies radio station, the waitress singing along and the toe taps of the guy sitting next to me, eating his own slice of sunshine.