Good Friday, April 17, 1992, I got up earlier than usual and had breakfast at Ginny’s. A holiday, so it was less crowded than usual. But still the kind of place a voyeur like me loves.
What an array of people. The old couple gumming cheeseburgers at 6 a.m. You wonder if they sleep much at their age; what they have to talk about anymore; what life holds when you greet a row of prescriptions on the dresser every morning.
The fat lady smoking in the corner, looking dreamily out the window, like she once had the world by the short hairs, lost it, and was drunk with nostalgia.
The four guys with Yankee baseball caps and athletic jackets, full of piss and vinegar, bonded males, assured they are God’s gift to women as they playfully (?) harass the waitress with sexual wisecracks she has heard through clenched teeth a million times.
The long-time waitress herself, Franny, she without last name, the quintessential server, running the whole place herself, built like wire, hard and cool as the formica countertops, as dizzying to watch as an amusement park loop-de-loop, memorizing four different orders at a time, refilling coffee cups from 18 inches away with the marksmanship of a Daniel Boone.
What story, I wonder as I catch my own reflection in the finger-printed pie and cake dish, do they see in the cute, innocent, harmless, bearded guy straddling the corner stool who uses too much catsup.
Edward J. Gallagher
press photo courtesy bethlehem archive Ginny's Luncheonette, 129 W 3rd St., Bethlehem, born 1983, died 2007, buried 2009, a victim of progress.