Prodigal return…and two poached eggs.

I’m back.  I’ve been in California for a week plus Texas for a day.  Ain’t we lucky we got ’em?  Good times.  It was warm (or hot), sunny, blues skies, cooler by the beaches.  Of course, I took very few pictures despite my intentions.

It was great except for trying to get home.  That was an ordeal.  I was supposed to arrive in Baltimore at 8:20AM on Sunday morning but got in at 1:30AM on Monday morning.  I got a little sleep in before going to work today.

What’s been happening in the world?  I have no idea.  The usual craziness plus more, it sounds like.  Speaking of which, I heard something in the news today that threw me for a loop.  Let me back up here.  Rewind one week and one day.

Sunday morning, April 25th at the Cracker Barrel restaurant in Denton, Texas.  Denton is a very “cowboy” town.  Even more country & western than Texas.  I was having breakfast with Natalie, her roommate Christi and Dan, her father.  I ordered the pancakes with turkey sausage and two poached eggs.  The waitress brought the food out and handed me everything but the eggs.  I buttered up the pancakes, cut the sausage and all that but I’m kind of particular when I eat so I usually don’t start eating until all the food is there.  So I waited.

A few minutes later, the waitress brings out one egg in a bowl.  She says sarcastically – with the sarcasm aimed in the direction of the kitchen, “I guess we’ll be serving you your eggs one at a time today.”

I was getting hungry so I started eating around the pancakes.  Time passed.  Half way through the meal then near the end.  I still hadn’t eaten my food because … c’mon.  Two poached eggs.  Well, eventually she comes back, apologizes and says she’ll discount the price or something.  I said it would be fine.

Natalie, Kristi and Dan weren’t happy. I really didn’t care all that much.  I just felt a little awkward having the attenton focused on my breakfast.  At this point I decided to just eat.  I cut into the solitary egg with my fork and, guess what, it was boiled, not poached.  So Dan called the manager over, very politely gave him what for and got half the meal for free and an apology on the side.

Now, I had been noticing throughout the Cracker Barrel experience (and I emphasize “cracker”) that I was literally the only black person in the place.  Have you ever been to one of these places?  They’re always super crowded.  There were probably between 150 and 200 people in there and I was the only chip in the cookie.  I’m not saying that my meal was screwed up due to racism or anything, but it just had to be me attracting attention, didn’t it.  200 people and the lone black guy has a problem.

Got the picture?  Okay.  Now fast forward to today, Monday, May 3rd.  I woke up, turned on the news and saw this…

Cracker Barrel Agrees to Plan to Address Reports of Bias

By ERIC LICHTBLAU

Published: May 4, 2004

WASHINGTON, May 3 — Cracker Barrel restaurants agreed Monday to overhaul their training and management practices after the Justice Department accused the country-style chain of widespread discrimination against black diners in about 50 locations.

A civil rights investigation found that black diners at Cracker Barrels in seven Southern states were routinely given tables apart from whites, seated after white customers who arrived later, and given inferior service, the department said in announcing the settlement.

Managers allowed white servers to refuse to wait on black patrons, and blacks were given less favorable treatment than whites when they complained about service, investigators found. Interviews with dozens of employees suggested that managers “often directed, participated in, or condoned the discriminatory behavior,” the department said.

___________________________________________________________

Things that make you go, “Hmmmmmm.”

I made up for it by getting the Costa Del Sol (diced ham, spinach, poached eggs on an english muffin with Hollandaise sauce) at Crepevine in Burlingame, CA.  On Burlingame Ave. to be specific.  Good stuff.  Hollandaise sauce tastes so good over those breakfast foods.  It figures that it has to be bad for you.  You just know that something that tastes so good has to be made of ingredients of pure evil; like the tears of abused children or baby harp seal eyes.  Or even worse, egg yolks, cream and butter.

It’s a cruel, cruel world.

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