Dinah's Pancake House

Half a century ago, Dinah's was built
Googie style with red Naugahyde booths

& space age lighting on Sepulveda near
Centinela, minutes from Hillside Memorial,

the Jewish cemetery, with crypts & graves
of George Jessel, Al Jolson, Milton Berle,

even, no relation, Dinah Shore. My sister
& I were at Dinah's Grand Opening gussied

in dainty coats & dresses. Mother wore a fur.
Our dad sometimes drove us for take-out

creamed spinach & fried chicken when he
was home from the Mojave or Kwajalein

or god-knows-where. Dinah's shows up
in 'Little Miss Sunshine,' when Alan Arkin

as Olive's grandpa rants at finding
Dinah's take-out on the dinner table

yet again. Driving the 405 south, you can
still spot Dinah's huge red & white

take-out bucket hoisted to the sky. German
pancakes, caramel malts, Greek omelets,

apple waffles. Fried chicken gizzards,
a specialty. Loyal diners, mostly older,

straggle in all day. My father-in-law Gene
—a grocery clerk—is buried at Hillside.

I like to think he's somewhere between
Jack Benny & Leonard Nimoy.

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