Christmas and eggs
Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 25, 2002
&uot;Scattered, smothered, covered… over light and over well.&uot;
These aren't exactly the words you expect to hear on Christmas morning. But for several Waffle House employees, it was something they've actually been looking forward to all year long.
Chipper waitresses and playful cooks were abound Wednesday morning at the Waffle House on U.S. 231 near George Wallace Drive.
With a quick flick of an omelet in one hand and the shuffling of toast in another, one cook spoke up about his Wednesday workday.
&uot;In a way, it's really an enjoyable way to spend Christmas,&uot; said Billy Williams, a cook at Waffle House who worked the 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. shift. &uot;I get to see a lot of people and wish them a Merry Christmas… It's like spending it with a lot of extended family.&uot;
Williams and his wife Melinda, who worked the 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. shift Wednesday, started exchanging gifts with their family last night.
&uot;Well, we got started about 9 p.m. and went well into the night,&uot; he said. &uot;We try to start opening the stuff from Santa at about midnight.&uot;
Well what about Santa Claus delivering presents to his 3 grandchildren? The explanation is easy, Williams said.
&uot;Santa dropped off gifts a little early to our house this year,&uot; he said with a smile.
Christmas sweets served as fuel for the two boys and one girl.
&uot;In fact, they didn't have a problem staying up. Not at all,&uot; Williams said.
Cathia Cook, president of Cook, Inc., and owner of the two Troy Waffle House's said that Christmas day is their busiest day of the year.
&uot;Well no one else is open,&uot; she said, &uot;so we get a lot of travelers coming through.
&uot;We're always open. And we stay open. Our doors are always wide open.&uot;
Cathia said her two youngest children started opening presents as soon as she got home Christmas Eve from work.
She got a few hours sleep, and beat Santa Claus back to the Waffle House Christmas morning.
&uot;It's a normal routine for me, though,&uot; she said. &uot;I don't mind it.&uot;
In fact, she said the best thing about working Christmas day was that the Waffle House has, of sorts, a Christmas party - a 24-hour party.
&uot;Employees bring in food all day and we just have a good time,&uot; she said. &uot;Even some of our customers bring us food.&uot;
Cook said she has been working on Christmas day since 1994, when she put on her first Waffle House hat.
&uot;I think the last time I didn't work on Christmas day was in college,&uot; she said.
While she admits that her hectic work schedule didn't allow her to do much gift wrapping, her children didn't seem to mind.
&uot;For a two and a three year old, it doesn't matter how they're wrapped,&uot; she said, chuckling over her glass of water.
Even though the hours are odd, Williams and Cook agree that it doesn't take away from the spirit of Christmas.
&uot;Their eyes still light up,&uot; Cook said. &uot;They still are in awe of the tree and the toys… And when they wake up Christmas morning, their grandma has more toys.&uot;
Cook said that she would spend the afternoon with her &uot;extended work family,&uot; the manager of the Waffle House near Hwy. 87, and then, not suprisingly, head back to work.
&uot;Hey, if my people work, then I work,&uot; she said.
The Christmas spirit also means more to Cook and her employees.
Just over a year ago, the first Waffle House in Troy opened.
&uot;This season is sort of like a culmination of the whole year.
&uot;It's a big day and we'll still be here next year,&uot; Cook said.
Waffle House, whose first stored opened Labor Day in 1955 in Avondale Estates, an Atlanta suburb, operates over 1,300 stores nationwide.
Waffle House is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, including
of course, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's.
So why the locks on the doors?
Said one employee: &uot;I don't know; we never close the doors.&uot;