• Fern


noun: Bewildered shock or surprise; the state or condition of being flabbergasted.

I’m really grooving on the word flabbergasted this morning. And I thought, before I looked it up, that a state of flabbergastedness was the state I was feeling. But it turns out that flabbergastation is the state of being flabbergasted. Putting gastation on the end of flabber sounds like someone’s idea of a joke, does it not? But, admit it, isn’t flabbergasted a great word? Fun to say, rolls off the tongue in silly sounds, like blubber and blabber and rubber and all that.

Flabbergasted was what came to mind in Deitz Stadium Diner (so named because of its proximity to Kingston’s High School Football Stadium across the street) in Kingston this morning. I love diners. Not the huge, brightly lit fluorescent behemoths that many people prefer, the kind that have menus so large and with so many pages one needs a half hour to peruse, while wondering how big the kitchen is and how many cooks are in there turning out eggs over easy, omelets filled with veggies and cheese, pancakes; flipping home fries, making cole slaw and salads and pies, grilling steaks and cheese sandwiches, filling breakfast burritos, making chili, all at the same time. Not them.

I love small, hometown diners. The kind where the booths are just the right size and cozy, not so large you might get lost in them, or sink down so low you need a cushion to sit on. I love small diners where the waitresses have worked for years and hold records for how many times a day they say “Hon” and “Sweetheart” and still manage to put meaning into it. I love small diners where the holiday decorations are homespun and maybe just a bit hokey, but well meaning, the crockery thick and serviceable, though you may have to wipe down your spoon or knife sometimes. There’s a feeling of homey-ness, when the old guys walk in slowly, eyes brightening as they are greeted by the waitresses and see some of their friends.

This morning, after an appointment, I wasn’t hungry for a big breakfast like my partner ordering the #3 egg special, so I ordered a toasted corn muffin, hearkening back somewhere to other diners, other times. I hadn’t had a ‘toasted corn’ in years probably. Perfect, I thought, a good alternative to an English muffin or a bagel.

When the muffin arrived, I was…flabbergasted! Dear god, I’m surprised the waitress didn’t have to call for help to carry it to the table! What had happened to the three inch round corn muffin of my diner recollections? The muffin came in two halves and was as big as my hand. It took up the entire plate! The butter was not a couple of petite, foil wrapped squares, but a huge glob in a small cup. Like I said, flabbergasted. Sad to say, it wasn’t very good. By the time I got finished eating the top of one half, I was done. For a compulsive plate cleaner, what I left behind was a sorry state. No, I didn’t take a picture. No, I didn’t wrap it and take it home. I did wish that the muffin maker would someday have an epiphany and produce a corn muffin of yore – delectable and normally sized.


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