When I was a baby visiting my grandparents in our tiny hometown, their next-door neighbours had a little boy my age and we became playmates from the time we were about a year old. As we grew up, we spent hours bicycling the gravel streets and back alleys together, floating rafts on sloughs, and (raiding the place on our tricycles at about age three) pinching sugar cubes off the tables at his parents’ small diner on the main street.
My friend and I spent a lot of time there at the diner. Those must have been happy times because sometimes in dreams I am there again, and it feels like home.
The building is long gone and I’m out of touch with my childhood buddy, but it’s with fondness that I recall the place and the feeling of that first decade, or so, of my life: the hot summer days and the popsicles, the soft drinks dripping with cold water when taken out of the giant red metal box with a lid, the jukebox, the booths, the glass-topped counter between the front and the back, the private room behind the kitchen, the lean-to built onto the side to store the crates of bottled pop …
All gone. But what if the diner still stood? What if it had been empty for 20 years and I bought it, moved into attached living quarters, and opened up a restaurant?
It was fun to imagine, and so I did. I imagined a character much like myself getting up at 6 a.m. on weekdays to start a batch of bread, then going for a walk with her little dog to the nearby lake while the dough rose. I saw her returning to sip on hot black coffee while perched behind that wood and glass counter, laptop flipped open. I imagined her recording the daily doings at the café, while sitting in the peaceful semi-dark before unlocking the front door to welcome the townspeople and travellers who would be her customers.
This webpage has gone through a few incarnations since. It began as a series of fictional stories about characters and events at a place that now exists only in my memory. A friend contributed entries too for a while. I maintained my daily blog at goldengrainfarm.blogspot.com and occasionally posted something to this one, but I was scattering my energy. I wanted everything in one place, and a new start.
So I deleted all the old stuff from this site and started fresh, here. It’s my letter to friends, from the Stubblejumpers Café in my heart.