My love, you are shivering! And so pale. Here, wear my cloak over your own. We have walked for many miles, and I had hoped the skies would have grown merciful by now. But we must persevere. Remember, even in the darkest night there is always a light somewhere ahead, and—but what's this? Do you see it? That yellow glow. Has the sun itself plumbed the darkest clouds and settled upon the earth next to that gas station over there?

Take heart, my love, for sanctuary is at hand. It can only be a Waffle House!

Do you know it? Yes, it is rather like a Denny's, but humbler still. It is a Southern thing, truly, perhaps best likened to the IHOPs of your girlhood in Fresno. But the Waffle House has a spirit of its very own. Let us make haste! Salvation is near, and it is slathered in syrup!

Please do not fret about your appearance. In my adventures, I have visited many Waffle Houses well after midnight, and though this rascal storm has drenched and muddied our clothes such that peasants would not exchange their rags for ours, we will be welcomed at yon Waffle House. No one, from the weary truck driver to the drunkard to the consumptive, is turned away, and on my last visit, my waitress informed me that, a fortnight earlier, Merle Haggard himself had occupied the very booth in which I was then seated.

Who is Merle Haggard? Never you mind, my dear. Never you mind.

But we must keep going. You have my word; it is not far. Let the heavens lash us while we repel the elements with thoughts of sausage, egg, and cheese sandwiches. You will not have to wait until morning, as breakfast is served at all hours. And while it is true that lunch and dinner fare such as patty melts and chopped steak is available, it is breakfast that Waffle House embraces above all else.

Now tell me: scattered, smothered, or covered? You look at me as if I speak some savage dialect, woman, when I merely refer to options for the preparation of the hash browns from which we will soon take sustenance. You will see once we arrive, my love, you will see. Tremble no longer, and think only of cheese 'n' eggs with raisin toast and apple butter. Or let us speak of grits. Or perhaps an omelet or—no, not pancakes. Waffle House does not serve pancakes.

Yes, my sweet, this house's devotion to the waffle is so complete that it excludes from its menu any other kind of griddled cake.

O, this cruel wind! Even if we are spared, I fear the Waffle House itself will be flung from its moorings. But I can see inside now. Observe that bloated man: He stands before a jukebox that features songs composed especially for the Waffle House. Do you know "Waffle Doo Wop"? I supposed not. It is every bit as gay as it would seem to be, and I shall play it, and it will forever betoken what you and I have endured on this night.

The parking lot at last! I could fall upon my knees and kiss its every stripe. But come. We must enter now and take this booth here by the window. Let the tempest outside look upon us, helpless to afflict us any longer. Let us now drink coffee without limit and fill our shrunken stomachs with pecan waffles and country ham. My love, let us rejoice!

The waitress should be along eventually.