Looking out a cafe’ window

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Looking out a cafe’ window

By Joanie Buettgen

Copyright 2010

It was just another gray Friday afternoon-with not a soul in sight. What does a woman do with extra time on her hands? A Facebook, Twitter friend told me to write, write, and then write some more. After taking Wanda’s advice; I jumped in my chick truck and headed off for parts unknown.

Arriving in a local small town didn’t seem like it would inspiring, but I was wrong.

Looking at all the business fronts, I wondered what would my readers find interesting. After parking, I spotted a interesting restaurant. The sign was hand-painted with olive branches artfully produced on a large stand, and in a friendly script. In the window was an antique wooden table, draped with a bright spring-colored tablecloth, and two quaint place settings. That was just the invitation I needed to be led in.

After opening the heavy, wooden door I noticed two girlfriends chatting over lunch next to a window seat which looked inviting.

Yes, this was definately the work place to park my body, my tablet and my script pen.

The ambiance was lovely and intimate with small square tables. Close by was a homemade menu which was posted on the wall, and consisted of: beef and barley soup, a jerk chicken sandwich, and freshly brewed coffee served in real stoneware mugs.

After placing my order I chose a secluded table next to a plate glass window. This location seemed ideal for people watching. The owner stated she would bring my sandwich over when it was ready.

As I waited, I looked around and noticed an airy floor plan to the resturant. The kitchen had no surrounding walls. I like the thought of being able to see my meal prepared; rather than wondering if it would be heated up in a microwave. It wasn’t. The kitchen consisted of a long, chef -style, chrome cooking surface, and many wooden chopping blocks.

Scanning my dining area I noticed many tables with kitchen gagets in crocks; that were used as centerpieces instead of the usual plastic bud vase.

What do you look for  in a local restaurant? How about a cozy, friendly environment, plus great food, that’s the ticket for me.

As the customers entered through the door, they knew just what they wanted for lunch today. They patiently lined up to place their order and chatted with people in line.

There was a  television show on, it was “Food Network.”  I asked the owner, “What do you think of Giada De Laurentiis?”

“I like her, she’s studied in Paris, which is known for their tough culinary school. Her grandfather was a great filmaker and she didn’t want the spotlight, and avoided it.”

Many friends entered and ordered their lunches. “What’ll it be today?” said the owner.

“It smelled so good when we walked by…how about a bowl of soup?” said a customer.

Another patron commented, “What is that lovely smell?”

The owner stated, “Freshly baked scones.”

“I’ll have one of those-to go,” said another walk in.

“Good bye, Rosemary!” The owner called out, “Thank you.”

“Hey, Tom,” said the owner, “the soups almost gone.”

“Well, that’s what I came in for, give me a cup to go,” said Tom.

While consuming my wonderful chicken sandwich I heard the background sounds of lives being lived; the welcome kitchen racket, loud but friendly conversations, and chatty good byes.

As one of her customers was paying for his pineapple danish, the owner asked, “So, how old is your child now?”

“Well, Bridget just turned nine…I think?” Said the man.

“You must be working too much,” stated the owner, “if you can’t remember that!”

This man took his brown paper bag and we all could tell he was deep in thought after her comment.

The owner’s husband stopped by just to say, “Hi.” Then he grabbed a cup of soup and off he went after a big kiss.  

“Bye honey,” shouted the owner, and off she went to check out her last customer.

Joanie has been published in: Minnesota Moments Magazine, Carver County Historical Society, Kansas City BBQ Society, Carver County News, and the National Barn Alliance.

Memberships: National Society of Newspaper Columnists, Toastmaster’s, Minnesota Newspaper Association, Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop attendee.

Social Networking: twitter.com/joaniebuettgen, www.linkedin/com/in/joaniebuettgen.

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2 responses »

  1. Joanie,
    Thanks for the story. Your story inspires me to scout around my neighborhood a bit more and just enjoy being a part of it. Today I was at the local Tires Plus getting my car’s oil changed and had a delightful conversation with a man waiting for his car. He lifted off his baseball hat to disclose a moon shaped scar on his bald head and told me he had brain surgery in December. Then, he told me how his wife was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in January and how she was progressing so well. He was 77 and said he and his wife had been so blessed all these years by never having any health problems at all. They were so grateful for having a great life. His positivity was contageous as he struggled to get up because his balance was a bit off because of a stroke years earlier. He had this zest for life and kept calling me “young lady.” Who doesn’t like that?

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