118 Courthouse Square
For Warren’s 40th birthday, we went to Oxford, MS to skateboard and eat at the Ajax Diner. I first discovered the Ajax Diner in 2004 when Kristy spearheaded a mama/baby roadtrip for the sole purpose of eating at the Ajax. (We also went to Faulkner’s House and ran amok in Square Books, Jr.) I didn’t remember too much about the actual food at the Ajax, just that it was home-cooking. (What stands out most in my mind was the fact that despite the excellent service and overall family-friendly vibe, there was no changing table--or any decent sized flat surface--in the women’s room.)
Warren likes home-cooking.
So we went.
Due to the amazing-ness of the skatepark, we didn’t actually make it to the Ajax until after 2pm. We found the restaurant pretty much empty, which was fine by me. We had a lovely waitress who brought us drinks and was nonplussed when Satchel (age 4) immediately spilled his all over the table and floor.
I had a hard time deciding what to order since I am not normally a home-cooking fan, and the menu had several tasty sounding sandwiches and salads. In the end, I went with the meatloaf, red beans & rice, and broccoli. I ordered chicken and dumplings, mashed potatoes, and green beans for the monkeys to split since there was no kids’ menu and I knew the portions were humongous. Warren went with the pork chops, sweet potatoes, and turnip greens.
While waiting for the food, Jiro (age 2) got a bit antsy so I took him and Satchel to the bathroom in the hopes that we might actually get through the meal with no interruptions. Our food arrived at the table just moments after we did. The servings were indeed humongous and I felt that we were absolutely getting our $7.95 worth.
Jiro looked at the plates and had a flashback to Piccadilly. He said, “I want jelly!” (a.k.a. Jell-O.) When I informed him that there was no jelly, he went for the jalepeno cornbread. This didn’t alarm me too much since has been known to fill his pockets with Hot Tamales at the skating rink.
Satchel’s eyes lit up when he saw his plate, but he seemed equally enamored by mine. “I want some of your meat,” he said as he dug his fork into my plate. “And some broccoli!” he added excitedly when he saw how big it was. “Those are broccoli trees!”
As soon as I took a bite of my meatloaf, I immediately shoved a forkful at Warren and demanded that he tell me what made it taste so yummy. “Sausage?” he said.
I took a few more bites and then asked him how his was. He was enjoying it too much to stop chewing and simply nodded and smiled at me.
By now Jiro had discovered the jalepenos in his cornbread and was saying sadly, “Too spicy!” I tried to get him to eat some of his other food, but he was fearful of everything being too spicy.
Meanwhile Satchel was lapping his up. “They’re better cookers than Daddy!” he said most enthusiastically. “But not Jeremy in Albuquerque,” he quickly added. (Jeremy was housesitting for a rich professor when we visited and he cooked us gourmet meals on a giant gas stove with six burners, which impressed Satchel to no end.)
Warren and I cleaned our plates for the most part—I left the hunk of cheese that was in the middle of my meatloaf out of concern for my *ahem* figure. Satchel had quite a bit of chicken and dumplings left, but not much else. (I remembered—too late--that I had ordered him chicken and dumplings on our first visit in 2004 and he didn’t like them much then either.) Jiro managed a few bites of broccoli but not much else.
Until he remembered the gumball machine in the front of the restaurant.
“So, how did you like your birthday lunch?” I asked Warren as he chased Jiro towards the door. Satchel was fast on his heels.
“It was good,” he said quite happily.
“Good,” I said as I went to get some quarters.