“What are you going to order this time?” I ask my grandfather as we sit at our usual two-person window seat in the corner. He eats oatmeal for breakfast every morning so when we go on our breakfast dates, he likes to change it up. This time he orders the cinnamon swirl French toast. “Good choice,” I think to myself.

Since the beginning of my sophomore year, my grandfather has come to visit me on campus and always takes me to Young’s Restaurant in downtown Durham, NH. It’s been our tradition to grab breakfast and catch up with each other. Young’s is the perfect spot to go early on a weekday morning as it’s usually not busy.

Ideally, we try to go on Thursdays because they have a senior citizen discount for 10 percent off. “What is a senior citizen?” my grandfather asks the waitress. She just stares at him with a confused look and then I have to explain it to him. Needless to say, he knows what a senior citizen is now so that’s been our new thing. They open bright and early at 6 a.m. and close at 2 p.m. My grandfather and I typically go at around 8:30 a.m.

I wait for him outside of the restaurant as I watch him park his massive Chevy Avalanche in the tight downtown street parking spots and pay the meter. He waddles over and gives me my mail that I received at home while at school, and we stroll into the restaurant. If we are lucky, we get the nice waitress that has face piercings. I forget her name, but she is our favorite server. I order a tall glass of orange juice and my grandfather orders a coffee and puts a lot of cream and sugar in it.

If we happen to go a couple weeks without seeing each other, we take a few minutes to ask how each other are and ignore the menu. Without fail, the waitress comes over to ask if we’re ready and we haven’t even thought about what we want to order. She laughs and tells us to take our time.

Reminded of why we’re here, we peruse the menu options and for me it’s always a toss-up between eggs and toast or the cinnamon swirl French toast. It’s pretty popular with us and by far our favorite menu item. So, naturally, the French toast always wins, with a fruit cup on the side of course. The menu is pretty diverse in the types of breakfast you can order, items ranging from eggs benedict, omelets, pancakes and all of those combined in one dish for the really hungry ones. My grandfather always finds himself choosing between the oatmeal (of course), pancakes and the beloved cinnamon swirl French toast. You can imagine what he ends up choosing.

As we wait for our food, we “catch up,” which usually means we talk about his huge indoor plant collection and I tell him about my classes. I normally ask how his cat Jingle Joe is and he rolls his eyes and calls him a “pain in the ass,” but he’s good. Apparently Jingle Joe likes to jump on his stomach while he is sleeping.

Our food comes out quickly because it’s not very busy – maybe a few older folks here and there – but we are always pleasantly surprised when we see the food.

“Are you sure you can have French toast?” I ask my grandfather, hinting that it’s doused and cooked in eggs. “Sure I can; as long as it’s cooked!” He’s told me before that he’s allergic to eggs, but that doesn’t stop him from eating them.

Most of the meal is quiet while we both happily stuff our faces. As we finish our meal, the nice server comes over with our check. I’m always surprised at how cheap it is.

“Can I pay?” I ask him.

“No, it’s my pleasure,” he says. I don’t argue with that; it’s only $20.

He pays at the register and we go our separate ways.

“See you in a few weeks! Thank you again for breakfast!” I yell as he walks to his truck.

Alison Eagan