Thursday, June 12, 2008

Tom and Joes

Dear George Batrus,

"Two eggs over easy, with bacon and home fries," Dad said. And you delivered, probably for fifty years. Fifty years of eggs is a lot of eggs. Plus, if you broke an egg, you served that one free along with a new perfect one, for you knew my father's passion for the yolk and albumin of a chicken. Hear tell, your cooking was just right, heavy on the portions and served with humor that was always in good taste.

And the ambiance! I love the picture on your website of the Altoona, PA, political machine perched at your counter. Vaul Rouzer, police chief. I like saying that name and imagining him. "All right, you dirty rats, it's time to face the music." But. . . in real life, if he was related to Johnny Rouzer from Fairview Elementary school, who now lives with his wife, mother-in-law, and cats, up off the road to Gallitzen, he was probably a pretty tame dude. Johnny was always nice and if, due to roundness, didn't set records at playground "4 square," he was a major player when it came time for "Spelling Bee."

But enough about the Rouzers.

I didn't personally sit, very often, on the spinning stools in front of the counter at Tom and Joes. It would have been wrong for me to invade that territory. It was, kind of, a private lair for my father who demanded and continues to demand little in this world. Just a few eggs and the peace to eat each bite, dipping white toast with butter in the succulent yellow slop on the plate. But I'm sure it was more than the eggs and the portions that drew him to your place and stools.

Each town has one. These are not the ones that are written about in the fashionable slick glossies. But the patrons are loyal and the community is hubafied by them.

My dad spent many a breakfast or lunch hour at Tom and Joes.
I'm sure he will continue to show up every Tuesday morning for the

Two Eggs, Bacon, Homefries, and Toast......$4.85
(Ham or Sausage instead of Bacon...No Charge)

(Over easy on the eggs and try to break one.) But he will miss you, George Batrus, and the spice your presence added to his life.


1 comment:

brd said...

By the way, my first car was a lot like the little one parked out in front of Tom and Joes in the news clipping. I totalled it. -BRD