Pancake, Pancake, Fireman

By Mark Crantz
By Mark Crantz

“Pancake, pancake, fireman, griddle us a cake as fast as you can, pat it and roll it, and mark it with a ‘L,’ flip it on the griddle for my dog and me,” I belted out while waiting for my first Memorial Day pancake breakfast.

“Hey, buddy. The ‘L’ stands for loser. No cutting in line,” said a rude OC visitor. It was my first time here and I wasn’t up to snuff on flapjack etiquette.

My dog and I did the walk of shame to the back of the line. All was not lost. We got a lot of sympathy on the way there. “Don’t worry. You’re just old and don’t know better,” said one octogenarian. Another inline person announced, “He’s that ‘Pet Peeves’ fool.   Full of hot air, he is. Surprised he has room for pancakes.” His companion added, “Thought the dog was his muse and dead. What’s a dead dog doing here eating pancakes?”

It was fortunate for me and my dead dog’s replacement, Poppy, that further comments were drowned out by local artist, Doug Miller’s patriotic violin playing. He’s actually quite good. My dog agreed by wagging her tail like a metronome, while I played along on her dog whistle. It’s an instrument no one can hear but other dogs that soon came to join us in line. This turn of events pleased other residents in waiting, but made the OC visitor hotter than the griddle he was almost next to. I couldn’t fathom his displeasure because not one of the six or seven dogs that joined us had cut in line in front of him. I must admit I began to question his patriotism. What red, white, and blue American doesn’t like dogs?

The OC visitor got his pancakes and moved on. I was pretty sure he wasn’t going to save us a seat. When it got closer to our turn, I realized I was seeing a bucket brigade in action. One firefighter poured the batter. Another one flipped. One handled the sausage rollout. This guy was the dogs’ favorite. “Want butter?” asked one fireman. “Sure,” I said. “More?” I hesitated a second. “You guys have the ambulance here, right?” I asked. “Not to worry sir. We stand ready. Have as much as you want,” suggested the fireman. And I did.

Poppy and I went to look for a seat that the OC visitor wasn’t holding for us. We saw him again, though. He was over by the ambulance being talked to by a fireman. “What happened?” I inquired to the nice senior who offered us a seat. “I think he choked. The fireman did the Heimlich maneuver.” “Wow. That was lucky,” I said. “Not for us residents. Just means he’ll come back next year complaining.” “Oh, I guess you have point,” I replied. “Don’t worry any. We patriots stick together. Next year I’ll save you a place in line. Just cut in.”

Thanks Laguna Beach firefighters for my first pancake breakfast. It hit the spot.


Mark is a transplant to Laguna from Chicago. He occasionally writes the guest column “Pet Peeves.” His recently deceased border collie, Pokey, is his muse and ghostwriter.

View Our User Comment Policy


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here