The woman who emerged from the kitchen, the Mom of the joint, was enormous: 6'6" tall and everything in proportion, she dwarfed the Pop who can't have been much over 5' and drooped with age, while she appeared quite radiant and energetic: "so who don't want meat?" she asked in the same deep, booming voice they had heard earlier; no response, whether it was from astonishment at the contrast between the old, world-weary man at the counter and this Amazon who towered over him, the voice which would have brought tears to the eyes of Paul Robeson, or the skillet she dangled from the fingers of one hand as if it was a fly-swatter; Hyman glanced at his companions and said, "that was just a misunderstanding," he said, "steaks and eggs and fries all round, I guess," and the others nodded – there weren't going to be any scofflaws in this Diner, not while Momma ruled the roost! "take a seat and Marvin will bring 'em over," she growled, and flashed a brilliant smile, "won'tcha, honey?" and Marvin smiled fondly at her as she retreated to her sanctum; and suddenly, from looking like he could keel over at any moment, clutching his chest and crying for his Mom, Marvin became quite energized himself, grabbing cutlery, napkins, glasses and condiments, he carried them over to the window table the group had chosen: there was a spring in his step and his face had lost fifteen years: "where're you kids headed to?" – he asked, and when Sadie said: "we're goin to Nova Scotia, plannin to do some ancestor hunt for folks who came over from Scotland at the time of the Clearances," he nodded: "yeah, lotsa folks doin that, seems most folks want to discover their roots, maybe when the Present ain't much of a gift, we turn to the Past for consolation or solace," at which Kaplan asked "can I quote you on that? you won't remember me, but I was here years ago, writing a piece about that Mayor who filched a fortune from the town coffers, made himself rich as Croesus had a tight-rope walker floozy, remember him?" and the man laughed, "sure, I was just a kid then, this was my Old Man's place, but he let me run the Soda Fountain, what's yer name?" and when Hyman told him, he said: "the Jewish cub reporter? sure, I never forget a face, especially when it's from outa town. we don't get so much since the Route bypassed town: the Catskills this ain't, no hotels or nuthin to make anybody stop for; did they ever pay you for that story?" and Kaplan recalled bemoaning the fate of every cub – sent out to dig up a story, speak it in on a lousy phone line and then either read a garbled version that looks like Tutivillus chewed it up and spat it out, or word-for-word as you'd dictated but with a Feature Writer's name in the Byline, and if you were very lucky a mention deep down in the tail as the source of a quote – and even then he'd often be identified as Herman, Harmon, Hymn and Norman, Maplin, Tapman, Kapper, Kipper and Klopper, and any payment he received weeks later would go towards repaying loans he'd needed to survive in the meantime; but he was touched that he'd made an impression on Marvin, and when he realised that the man must be about 10 years his junior, he glanced at himself in the mirror and thought that he really didn't look so bad after all!