While in Albany yesterday, Earl and i joined our friends for breakfast at a local diner. We are always fans of a good diner experience, so we were eager to check out this place we hadn’t been to before, the “76” diner on Route 9 in Latham.

The “76” is your typical diner from the mid 70s. It has that “diner car” feel on the inside, while the exterior is done up with big windows, lots of fake stone and colors reminiscent of a 1976 Ford Grenada. The five of us (Earl and I, Sean and Jeffrey and Evan) piled into a booth, eager to partake in some delicious and unhealthy diner breakfast food. Our waitress’ name was Arlene.

Arlene was in her late 50s or early 60s I’d say and filled to the brim with sass. I guess you could say she was a cross between Bea Arthur and Flo from “Alice”. She wasn’t abrasive in the least, but she had a certain boisterou charm to her that one only finds in a diner like the “76”. She was loud, she wrote in some strange shorthand on her well abused pad and she fired right back when we went a little outside of the norm: Earl wanted a burger with a fried egg on top (“what? A burger for breakfast? With an egg on top?”), Jeffrey wanted a diet pop with his omelet (“a diet coke. With your breakfast. Who’s ever heard of such a thing.”), Evan and I both had two sides of meat with our meal (she snickered when I told her I was feeling too healthy) and Evan changed his bread type from wheat to rye after she had already written down “weat”, which I translated to “wheat”.

Arlene threw our straws at us, sat down next to me as we piled more requests on her tiny pad and assured us that she was in a good mood as she put the filled plates on the table and let us sort it out for ourselves.

It was a great breakfast and Arlene certainly helped make it memorable. We look forward to going back again.

I’ve mentioned that my grandmother was a waitress in a similar type diner for many years. I don’t remember her in that role very well, but I’m sure that while not as boisterous as Arlene, she made the experience just as memorable for her customers.