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. Growing up, we spent hours bicycling the gravel streets and back alleys together, floating rafts on sloughs, and (raiding the place on our tricycles) 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’m 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 cooler with a lid, the jukebox, the booths, the glass and wood counter sat 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 …
But what if the diner still stood? What if it had been empty for 20 years but its bones were still good and I bought it, moved in and opened up the front door?
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 counter, laptop flipped open to record cafe life as she sees it. I saw her sitting in the peaceful semi-dark, everything ready for the day, bread soon to come out of the oven, 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 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 here at Stubblejumpers Cafe. But 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.