Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Two Hearts Beat As One
From Dave Brigham:
The one time I went to the My Tin Man Diner on Cape Cod I was underwhelmed. I don't remember what I ate, but it was nothing special, and the place was a little rundown. Still, I loved diners, so I longed to go back. Unfortunately, in 2000 the place was torched by a guy who thought his wife, a waitress at the diner, was fooling around with customers. The burned-out hulk of the diner sat hard by Route 28 in Bourne for years before being torn down.
I vacation in Bourne each summer with my wife's family, so every July I find myself thinking about the diner. This year, on a drive with my son through North Falmouth, I cruised through a four-way intersection that I'd traveled through before, and spied a "Tin Man Diner" sign. The next day, with some alone time on my hands and anxious to use my new camera, I made a bee-line right back to that intersection.
I parked in the small lot out front and started snapping pictures, acting as though I'd found some Egyptian artifact that nobody had ever seen. After a few minutes, a guy about my age, wearing an apron, approached me and asked whether I was from the newspaper. I told him no, I just love diners and was excited at discovering that the Tin Man had risen from the ashes (I didn't say it so poetically that day). Then, a woman in her late 50s or early 60s joined us. The cook explained that I was just a diner lover, and she gave me a hearty handshake.
Turns out some locals have given the diner a hard time. The woman turned out to be the owner, Barbara Lind. She said that each day she had her small neon "OPEN" sign turned on, the town of Falmouth assessed her a fine (I didn't find out how much). There have been people out front protesting the diner, she said, although she didn't say for what. I suspect that the neighbors in the well-to-do neighborhood weren't too pleased that a scrappy, working class woman and her daughter, who were associated with a lurid and sordid arson case, were now working in their midst.
Barbara was kind enough to invite me in to look at the diner and take some more pictures. "I'm so glad you turned out to be alright," she said to me with a big smile on her face. I wished her well in her battle with the town and her neighbors and told her I'd try to get back the next day for breakfast. Unfortunately, I didn't make it back.
The place is resplendent in "Wizard of Oz" decor, and neat and clean. Barbara has proudly hung a bunch of articles about the original diner's demise, and the launch of the new place. I don't know if I can wait a year to get back there to eat. Some weekend in the near future I need to sit down at the counter and devour some waffles, bacon and home fries.
Finally, how's this for a way to complete the circle: on the exact spot where the My Tin Man once stood, a new diner has been dropped. I snapped a couple of pictures of the place, and as I did so I could hear a radio from inside, and see signs of people working to fix it up for business. Looks like next July I'll have two choices for home-cooked breakfast.