We moved to the Pacific Northwest from the darkest deepest hot'n'humid sandy swamps of Florida - about as far away as we could get from FL and still be on the continental United States. We arrived late at night on February 19, and February 20 dawned like only a February 20 up here can be - cold and drizzly and gray and pretty damn miserable, really. We were staying at the Rodeway Inn until such time as we could get the keys to our new house, mainly because we had a cat in tow and they were one of the few places which allowed 'em. She had spent most of the previous night wailing pitifully and climbing all over me in bed ("Hoooome! Take me hoooooome! It's cold and I don't know this place and life is horrible and I want to go hooooooooooome...") but we both survived the night and then rdeck and I wandered down, bleary-eyed, to the so-called free breakfast that Rodeway Inn provided.
This appeared to consist of a carafe of coffee, and a few pieces of wilting toast in a rack with a small basket of jelly to smear on them.
Didn't look too appetizing.
Across the parking lot there was a restaurant - Eleni's, advertising Greek and American food. We ducked across in the rain, wandered inside into the somewhat utilitarian but nevertheless welcoming atmosphere, and had our first real meal in Bellingham.
We've been going back to Eleni's for breakfast ever since. We always had the same thing - Greek omelette with wholewheat toast for him, a couple of slices of tyropita for me (it's a sort of phyllo-pastry cheese pie, very nice), and two coffees. It wasn't long before the waitress who almost always served us would basically call in our order as we pulled into the parking lot and she recognised our car.
We always got a warm welcome, a few moments of catching up, they knew about rdeck's stroke and were always sure to comment on how well he was doing. The coffee ranged from okay to (sometimes) rather indifferent, but hey, it was a place with good food and people who knew our names.
We went back there as a sort of ritual on the anniversary of that first breakfast every year since we began.
And then, on one occasion, I happened to overhear someone talking.
"You're CLOSING?" I asked, when one of the waitresses passed our table.
"Oh. Yeah. On July 15. They're going to open a casino here."
We ate our breakfast in a sort of shock, and went back twice more before they closed their doors permaenntly. It's gone now, Eleni's, a part of our own history. I think we will miss it.
A few photographs