The Jumbo Combo and Strawberry Crêpes Adelaide

An elderly couple steadied each other across the frozen pathway of their favorite café, arms interlocked like Lego people. They would still enjoy a late morning breakfast despite the hazardous conditions of a blizzard that closed down schools and ironically caused waitresses to slip while carrying in ice from the shed.

He offered her the seat by the radiator as he shook off his Yankees fisherman’s hat, declaring that he would have the Jumbo Combo platter before removing his coat.

“Two eggs over medium with pancakes and bacon. Breakfast potatoes? What are breakfast potatoes?”

Coffee was poured and her sleepy eyes widened as she read from the specials, “Strawberry crêpes?”

With that, Jumbo Combo settled her fate.

“She will have the strawberry crêpes.”

A computer generated jazz playlist evoked memories of their European excursions disguised as obliged visitation. Their granddaughter studying in Paris brought them to France, and a siren from his youth opened invitation to the Tuscan countryside.

“She had jet-black hair and a full figure– a knock-out when I knew her way back when. I heard that she retired to a vineyard in Italy and decided to give her a call. She said, ‘Come out and visit. I’ll make you a steak and chicken dinner.’ We got off at the train terminal in Florence to be escorted, but she was no where in sight."

He smirked, squeezing jelly from a plastic Smuckers container, "I wouldn’t have recognized her with silver hair if I hadn’t run into the same rear-end that I had admired for years.”

Her lips, dusted white in powdered sugar like the café's porch, curled up into a smile.

He continued, “We dined al fresco that night. The vineyard stretched on forever. It was the most magnificent thing I had ever experienced.”

“Absolutely magnificent,” she forced through a mouthful of crêpes.

“Take your time, Adelaide. We have nowhere to be.”

He leaned across the table, cut an end of the crêpe and mopped up the strawberry filling. Pulling the bite from his lips, he replaced the fork with her hand and leaned back, rubbing his belly to the cadence of a tenor saxophone.

His eyes closed in memory, “And just like that, I’m back in Paris all over again.”


The Jumbo Combo and Strawberry Crêpes Adelaide is the first portrait in The Olive Eye's series of waitressing anecdotes, Guest Checks. Next, meet iPad Dad, a father who shares child visitation rights with his ex-wife and technology.