As I walk through the first glass door, I look to see if she is there. Indeed, she is. And, without fail, her contagious smile brings one to my face as well.
Ms. Shirley is the hostess at the Waffle House I have been frequenting lately. In all my vast Waffle House experience, I have never known them to have a person whose sole job it is to greet customers, help them find a seat and make them feel welcome. But, that is Ms. Shirley's job and boy is she good at it.
Each of the times I have spoken to her, I have had at least one of my boys in tow. Shirley loves on them as if they were her own grandchildren (of which she has five). She is always dressed so nicely...in her black pants and jacket, lacey white top underneath and bright yellow Waffle House name tag bearing her name. Her makeup and hair done just so, she is a welcome site each time I visit.
The Waffle House is one of those places that you either love or you don't...and I happen to love it. I can order just what I want (this morning a Fiesta Omelette) just the way I want it (hold the tomatoes, please) and there is something about those booths and the behind-the-counter action and the occasional country lovesong pouring out of the jukebox... there's really no place like it.
But...what makes the experience even better is the friendly smile of a nice lady named Shirley. A lady who, by just doing her job, somehow makes it feel like home.