Thursday, December 13, 2007

'bout damn time!

I know, I know. It's been a while. I've been busy with lots of exciting things, among them a weekend jaunt to Costa Rica (and obligatory accompanying sunburn), my first 10k jog/bounce, fried turkeys (yes, that's plural), a hockey game, festive symphony concerts, fruitless shopping excursions and the first holiday parties of the season.

Now, all of that is well and good, but I've got some real excitement to share with y'all: The results of the 2007 I Love Waffle House Essay Contest are in, and I am a WINNER! [note: I am A winner, not THE winner.]

Last year my brilliantly crafted poetic tribute was spurned by the humorless judges, who favored my sister's 100-word entry over mine and awarded her a first place prize. (When they posted the results on their website, we discovered she had not in fact gotten first place, but third. They gave her the first place goods all the same. NICE.) My loving sister, sensing my dismay at this unwarranted rejection -- Waffle House even sent a letter apologizing for the fact that I hadn't made it into the pool of the top 275 submissions -- graciously gave me her free waffle coupons, which my classmates and I put to good use at a WaHo outside Scranton, Pa.

This year the rules changed, with a prescribed topic and a limit of 300 words. I nixed the verse and didn't broadcast my essay on my blog, waiting instead to hear the results before I went public so as not to jinx myself. I'm sure that's what happened last year...

I digress. I got a letter last week in a Waffle House envelope when I got home from symphony rehearsal informing me that I had been awarded a second place prize (one of about 50) in this year's essay contest! I only needed to fill out the enclosed affidavit certifying that I am indeed me (confirmed by my mother as witness) and send it back to claim my victory t-shirt and Waffle House prize pack. (Those should arrive in 6-8 weeks.)

So, without any further ado, I present to you my 2007 I Love Waffle House essay, about what my favorite Waffle House original song is and why. My dad asserted that there was no way an essay using the word "anthropomorphic" could win -- Ha! I sure showed him. Enjoy!

I Love Waffle House, 2007

Over my years of Waffle House visits, I’ve fallen into a routine: grab a booth, greet the salesperson and order a vanilla Coke, then dig four quarters out of my change purse and head for the jukebox. I’ve got a regular playlist of Patsy Cline, Elvis, Johnny Cash and the like. Some restaurants don’t stock all my usual tunes, but no matter the location or how old or newfangled the jukebox, I can always round out my selections with an original Waffle House song or two.

I admit there must be dozens of these ditties I have yet to hear. My Waffle House repertoire consists primarily of the songs on “Waffle House Jukebox Favorites, Vol. 1” – a gift from a WaHo breakfast buddy. Designed to resemble a waffle, the CD is one of my most prized recordings. It also started my ever-expanding collection of Waffle House paraphernalia.

Much to the chagrin of many Waffle House employees, “There are Raisins in my Toast,” holds a spot among my regular jukebox picks. I don’t even like raisins (or raisin toast), but the song – a riff on the hit “Sherry” by Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons – is catchy as all get-out.

On top of its exuberant call-and-response chorus, the song’s storyline creates an endlessly amusing mental picture: anthropomorphic raisins stroll across the counter, joke affably with the hungry customer who will soon devour them, then do a promotional song-and-dance number – all before breakfast!

It’s a little nutty, but that’s what makes it irresistible. Whether on my iPod or in-store, “Raisin Toast” conjures memories of roadtrips, Christmas Eve dinner at WaHo with my sister and that unmistakable feeling of waffle-induced euphoria. Employees might groan when they hear “Raisin Toast”, but deep down they love it, too.


Brock said...

Congratulations, Kathleen. You certainly deserve it!

Manashi Mukherjee said...

Did they know that you were a ringer? (ie - a professional writer!) Nice work, though. Are you going to be sharing your bounty with those of us less fortunate?