The Midnight Breakfast Society
They gather in front of the house just before midnight on the first Wednesday of every month, their hair bed-tousled and their eyes still sandy with sleep. They greet one another with a kiss on the cheek, too tired for much talking. They stand on the dark lawn, shivering in their night dresses and cotton pajamas, waiting for their host to let them in.
As soon as the clock strikes twelve, the door of the house springs open and they're beckoned inside. Steaming mugs of coffee and tea are passed around and the warmth and light and caffeine energizes them immediately. They are led down a hall, into a dining room, and seated at a long table laden with food.
There are vats of orange and grapefruit juice, triangles of toast slathered in butter. Pots of honey and jam sit alongside horns of plenty filled with pastries. There are towers of pancakes and French toast, the layers wedged with fresh cream and berries. There are milky bowls of porridge with all of the mix-ins: honey, nuts, dried fruit, sugar, and cinnamon.
At the far end of the table is a bagel station with a variety of cream cheeses, plates of bacon ranging in degree of crispiness, eggs boiled, scrambled, sunny-side up, and over easy. There are blistered-skin sausages, cheesy grits, baked beans, and fried tomatoes.
Napkins and utensils are distributed and, with a single nod from the host, the 23rd meeting of the Midnight Breakfast Society begins.