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Waffle Boy

by Tracy Newman
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  Charlotte Dean

I was reading the waffle recipe that comes with the Toastmaster Waffle Iron and it says that you put ½ cup of batter in your waffle iron to make a 9-inch round waffle.  Seems simple enough. 

About three years ago, I was in Nashville at a weekend songwriting workshop. I stayed at a hotel that claimed to be next door to a Waffle House. To me, when you say “next door,” that means you can walk out one door to the sidewalk then walk up a path to another door.  That’s “next door.”  To get to this particular Waffle House from my hotel I had to hike up a short hill to the highway, walk about 50 feet to the next clearing, then down the same short hill to get to the parking lot of the Waffle House.  Clearly it wasn’t designed for foot traffic from the hotel. Then again, I didn’t really stay in Nashville long enough to explore this design further. 

Anyway, on Sunday morning I made the circuitous trek by myself to have waffles.  I took a note pad with me -- I’m an aspiring songwriter, and Nashville is where it’s at, so to speak, so you never know when inspiration is going to hit you.  Imagine my delight when I stumbled upon this painful yet ultimately uplifting episode:

Waffle Boy

There’s a new guy making waffles today at the Waffle House
It’s Sunday morning and busy as it can be 
I take the last available seat at the counter
Where the new guy’s stationed right in front of me

All four of his machines are overflowing with batter
It’s oozing down the cabinet to the floor
It’s two inches deep, he can hardly keep his footing
Three waitresses are waiting for

Waffles… if he can’t make ‘em, they can’t serve ‘em
Shouldn’t us diners take a closer look at him?

    Five foot five, barely seventeen
    Legs tangled up in dirty apron strings
    Really bad skin, two broken teeth
    Arms like sticks poking out of his sleeves
    A chef’s hat teetering on his big ears
    He’s sweating like a pig, he’s fighting back the tears
    In this trial by fire --
    The boy who mans the waffle irons.

A buzzer sounds, a waffle’s ready, so he lifts the lid
He can’t ease the waffle out, so he grabs a fork
He stabs at the waffle, it breaks into little pieces
He digs them out and flicks them on the floor

A young waitress can’t resist, she tries to help him
But the man in charge of eggs throws her a look
She backs away; I guess the egg man is the owner
Or the father of this awkward would-be cook, of

Waffles… if he can’t make ‘em, they can’t serve ‘em
We’re all thinking that this job’s too much for him

    Five foot five, barely seventeen
    Legs tangled up in dirty apron strings
    Really bad skin, two broken teeth
    Arms like sticks pokin’ out of his sleeves
    A chef’s hat teetering on his big ears
    He’s sweatin’ like a pig, he’s fightin’ back the tears
    Ain’t it time to fire --
    The boy who mans the waffle irons?

        Just look at all our plates lined up beside the waffle boy
       
Bacon, eggs and sausage, all congealing
        Everyone is hungry, little children are crying
        So who cares how a teenager is feeling?

Then, suddenly he puts a waffle on an egg-filled plate
His ragged smile would take your breath away
He spins around to show the waffle to that waitress
But like a Frisbee it sails right off the plate

And flies into the face of the egg man
Who catches it and looks down at the kid
He holds up the waffle for all of us to see it
Then he smiles and says, “Do you see what my boy did?

Waffles… my boy can make ‘em, we can serve ‘em
And I always knew he had the gift in him!” 

    Five foot five, barely seventeen
    Legs tangled up in dirty apron strings
    Really bad skin, two broken teeth
    Arms like sticks pokin’ out of his sleeves
    A chef’s hat teetering on his big ears

He’s sweatin’ like a pig, he’s fightin’ back the tears
But there’ll be no firin’
And we’re all admirin’
And he’s awe-inspirin’
The boy who mans the waffle irons.


© 2007 Tracy Newman
“Waffle Boy” from her CD “A Place in the Sun”
BMI, Kabeauty Music
http://www.tracynewman.com/

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