When I was a teenager, my friends and I would spend a lot of evenings together at the movies, at the arcade, at Putt-Putt Golf & Games, at concerts, at the park. Most of those nights would end with a trip out to Lake Worth for some late night IHOP. The place became a staple in our friendship, sort of its own entity in a way. We would eat, and then loiter for a while. This was an almost weekly occurence. Through the years I came to realize that it wasn't just us who had this experience, many people in the surrounding area did the same.
About a week and a half ago, it was business as usual inside the Lake Worth IHOP. It was 7:00am breakfast time. A waitress noticed smoke coming from the roof. Everyone evacuated the building, and it eventually burned. The roof collapsed and our old favorite place was no more. Surely, they'll rebuild, but it won't be the same. Now the only IHOP close to me is the one by TCU, and that's a bit of a drive for pancakes and hamburgers.
After high school I still went there with friends. Even in college it was the place to go to after an evening of activities. I still remember eating there the night I saw The Dark Knight for the first time. My college friends and I even went there after seeing The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. However, my most memorable time going there was after watching King of the Ring 1998. Mankind fell off the top of the Hell in a Cell, and I was stunned for days. When the show was over, my high school friends and I loaded up in cars, and picked up some other friends who were hanging out at the local bowling alley. Then, we all went to this IHOP to talk about what we had just witnessed.
Even in recent years I enjoyed going to this IHOP. I once had an apartment almost across the street of this IHOP. On slow evenings, when I had nothing else going on, I would pack up my laptop and/or a book, and I would go there and chill on a night that wasn't packed. I mean, I'm not a jerk. I wasn't going to go there when the place was full of people and I would be taking up a table.
Until recently, it was my family's go-to place to eat breakfast. Sometimes I would be getting off work in the early afternoon, and they'd meet me at work and tell me that we're all having breakfast at IHOP. The last time we did this was a few months ago. We've been to other breakfast places, like Denny's and Cracker Barrel, but we always ended up going back to our old standby, the Lake Worth IHOP.
Well, I guess there is nothing left to be said except, goodbye old friend. Godspeed.