Wednesday, May 10, 2006


Three out of five mornings a week I stop at a diner called “Sammy’s’ and have breakfast.

I have been doing it for two years and so I have become a fixture in the place like the rest of the early morning patrons. I have “my” stool. Sammy has my water glass, silverware and coffee waiting for me most mornings.

The coffee is the best and Wednesday’s is corned beef hash day. On “Hash Wednesday” it’s not the canned, slimy stuff but real, homemade hash with poached eggs. Lots of folks get oatmeal and raisin toast every day.

There is a sense that this scene could be repeated in most small town diners anywhere – but we have a real sense of community and camaraderie right here in the big city of Cleveland.

People come in, everyone says, “Hello.” We talk about how the Cavs or the Indians played the night before. We work the crossword puzzle together as a group. Occasionally, if Tom Jones or Neil Diamond is coming to town, we break out into song and will sing until Sammy feels as if he should be charging a $3 breakfast cover charge for the music.

We celebrate everyone’s birthday with cake and cards. We laugh, cry and help each other when the need is there. We miss folks when they are away on vacation or business travel.

It really is a place where everybody knows your name to borrow a line from the Cheers theme. There are a few older single people that dine there every morning and they know that if they miss a day that the crowd at Sammy’s will miss them – even if no one else will. It is amazing the natural and undeniable sense of responsibility towards each other that we feel.

It is a great way to start your day – with friends.


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