Jeri's Grill

At 3 o'clock Saturday morning, for no apparent reason, I was at Jeri's Grill, the super-sketchy diner across the park from my apartment. I walk past it daily and vowed to go there someday.After deciding what to eat — a patty melt for him, a stack of pancakes for me — my dining companion handed me a dollar and told me to go to town on the jukebox. ("Don't spend it all in one place, kid.") The first song I picked was Tom Petty's "Learning to Fly." I picked the other two songs, and when I sat back down, we looked over to the grill and saw the grizzled old frycook wearing a threadbare Tom Petty concert T-shirt. And he was dancing. The pancakes just tasted better after that.