Tuesday, April 30, 2024

The Diary of a 221st Southumberland Waffleer

 "In the year 2023 I took my menu at the Waffle House of Peachtree City, Georgia, and proceed to order the courses prescribed by the waitress at the counter. Having completed my breakfast there, I was duly attached to the Two Hundred and Twenty-First Southumberland Waffleers as an assistant transporter."

-- From The Reminiscences of Brad A. Keefauver, EmDee (like a lower level of emcee)

That first Waffle House breakfast, April 14, 2023.

I shall never first my first Waffle House breakfast. At the tender age of sixty-five years old, it was like I had waited my whole life to finally cross that threshold, at a time when my body wanted to retire from all work and just eat breakfasts. (I still haven't allowed my body that comfort.) Still, the inspiring words of the leader of the 221st Southumberland Waffleers, that modern day Horace Greeley of breakfast, Steve Mason pushed many of us to the waffle front that year. We were not the first. We would not be the last.

The 2023 British Invasion

With Paul Thomas Miller commanding the first table of Waffleers that campaign, I was relegated to the counter, where a kindly waitress explained to me all of the workings of the Waffle House menu. I ordered the "All-Star Special," which is said to have a calorie count that only an orderly and a pack-horse can bring you safely away from. I landed back at the hotel with my waistline irretrievably ruined, but permission from my marital government to spend the next eleven months in attempting to improve it.

Eleven months later, it had not much improved, but the call went out, and I answered. This time, the location was Englewood, Ohio, which some call "Dayton."

March 23, 2023

This time, I found myself in the company of the officers of our company and a local commander. There are not many encounters where you can relive past glories like you can at a Waffle House, and again the All-Star Special came at me, and again it was summarily dealt with. 

A successful endeavor done!

I returned with one of our junior lieutenants the very next morning to find the site had been completely occupied by our forces after the success of our scouting party the previous morning.

Waffleers Ho!

But such successes on the battlefield of breakfast inevitably cause one to go too far, to attempt to take on more challenges than one's forces might be capable of holding and not gaining another ten pounds. Not a full month later, the Waffleers encamped in Atlanta, at yet another airport hotel, this one in the actual city its airport was named for.

The 8AM Campaign, Friday, Peachtree City 2024

It was April 12, 2024, a Friday I will not soon forget. As the change from Central to Eastern time caused our commander to delay our sortie until 8 AM, I was awake and ready when time came to assemble at our departure point. I plotted our route and got us back to the site of my previous year's first encounter with the WH waffle. I held back in my efforts and went with the "Two Egg Breakfast & Bacon," foregoing the waffle to preserve my energies. Little did I know what fate had in store for me.

Upon returning to our encampment at the Atlanta Airport Marriott, I found Waffleers who had missed the first call to forks, just as I had missed ordering a waffle during that early mission. There was only one answer to solve all our problems.

A waffle.

Back we went, shocking the waitress as two of our number were back at the same table we'd sat less than two hours before.
The 10 AM Campaign, Friday, Peachtree City 2024

At this point, waffle madness had begun to set in. Saturday morning, 8 AM, another Waffle House, this time in Fairburn, Georgia because our leader was tired of driving past six Waffle Houses to get to the one where my past glories had occurred. My ability to take photos was decreasing with my growing girth. And again we went, Sunday morning, 8 AM, taking up two troop carriers with the sheer mass of our forces.

Taken after stumbling out of my fourth WH visit in three days.

Was it all over? Was it all done? The call came for one last photo by the Waffle House sign to mark our last campaign of spring 2024. We gathered. We surrounded the sign. And just as the picture was about to be taken, the manager of the Waffle House and our waitress ran out. The manager offered to take the picture, the waitress handed me a handful of Waffle House hats to adorn our heads. We had not just invaded this Waffle House. We had emerged victorious. 

The final Waffleer shot of our spring 2024 campaigns.

Returning to our base camp at 221B Con, it would be some time before I took that Waffle House hat off. One of the vendors who sold Waffle House earrings converted some of them to necklaces, and I wore that the rest of the weekend when the hat did finally come off. What does any of this have to do with Sherlock Holmes? 

I do not know. But it's too late to even ask.

A Waffleer.

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