Saturday, July 3, 2010

Maid Rite

by Jeffrey Miller

Just down the street from Adrian’s Skelley Station
the ancient diner, its weathered clapboard sides
a peeled and faded reminder of better days
is opened for lunch with regulars already in place.

Seated elbow to elbow around the scarred stained
Formica top counter, on wobbly stools that have
long since stopped swiveling, it’s the usual lunch chatter
about the weather, politics, and the economy.

Outside a line stretches halfway down the block.
It’s a simple menu Maid Rite sandwich—
finely ground beef cooked and piled on a bun,
served with mustard, pickles or chopped onions.
A bag of chips and a Coke on the side.

“I’ve been coming here for 30 years,” says one patron
to another. “Best darn sandwiches in McDonough County.”
The waitress behind the counter nods, takes another order.
What’s tradition and history got to do with it, she thinks,
when she’s making three dollars an hour plus tips?

It’s only a sandwich for crying out loud.

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