Death of the All Night Diner

Equal opportunity offenders walked on eggshells.  Looked for opportunities to please themselves.   Hid from overly sensitive souls.

How did they find room for all that hate in their hearts?

Save the planet.  Save the planet.  Who were we saving it for?  A generation that didn’t appreciate what they already had?  Look what happened to newspapers printed on real paper.

A mother shushed her baby daughter with a bite of pancake.

At another table, a family clad in sports paraphernalia, planned the day’s events.

Across the room, an older gentleman with silver-rimmed glasses, sat alone.  His gray hair and round face, lost in an ocean of senior citizens.

“Two eggs over easy, whole wheat toast, a side order of grits, and black coffee,” Arthur  ordered from the pleasant, middle-aged waitress.

Waves of loneliness bubbled up from within.  Arthur’s calloused hands rested, firmly clasped on the table top.  Nothing was ever the same after the death of the all night diner.




for sale

For those in the market for something unusual or offbeat–the world’s largest ketchup bottle is on the market for a mere $200,000.

How could this be? The giant “Brooks Tangy Ketchup” bottle loomed over the Collinsville, IL skyline for years. Nobody cared that it wasn’t really a ketchup bottle.  Instead,  it was a water tower.

It’s a reminder of former glory days when the spicy condiment was processed locally. The ketchup bottle is a local landmark–something to talk about.  It’s like the statues of Paul Bunyan in Minnesota and Maine.

roadside landmark

For years, billed as, the “World’s Largest Catsup Bottle” it was part of St. Louis area attractions, along with nearby Cahokia Mounds State Park and the St. Louis Gateway Arch.  Located just off I-70 south on highway 159, the giant bottle welcomed visitors to the south side of town.

As a former area resident, I’m appalled that some day the giant ketchup bottle could be gone.  Where will that leave Collinsville, IL?   As locals would tell you, the area is the largest producer of horseradish–another flavorful condiment. There are no giant horseradish statues. Maybe there should be?  A giant horseradish root on a pedestal just wouldn’t be the same.

catsup bottle water tower
An endangered highway landmark–the Brooks Catsup water tower

 At face value it’s just an old water tower.  The property on which it rests fronts a major highway.  It’s much more than prime real estate to me,  It’s a reminder of pre-interstate days when people drove slower with the windows rolled down.

Summer vacation days when Johnny rode in the back seat of the family sedan with his sister Susie and little brother Timmy.  They argued constantly over who got the window seat.

Mom, Dad look–it’s a giant ketchup bottle!  Can we stop and look?

Dad scowled in silence.  Mom finally gave in.

All right we’ll stop for a few minutes.  Only if you’re good–no fighting or arguing.

Whatever the outcome–Brooks ketchup will remain my favorite. Because, as you may not know–“It’s The Tangy-est.”




fishing fleet

Joe Patti’s Seafood
As synonymous
With Pensacola
As night is to day
Shrimp, royal reds
Oysters, flounder
Fresh from
The fleet, that’s
Anchored outside

It’s busy
A little quirky
Patience required
Keep your place
No tolerance
For slackers, whiners
Cutting in line

If the staff
Seemed brusque
It was because
The best is
Worth waiting for
Since 1931
Joe wouldn’t
Have it
Any other way