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 called Stubblejumpers Café?
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 coffee while perched behind that wood and glass counter, computer open on top. I imagined her writing about the daily doings at the café while sitting in the peaceful semi-dark before she unlocked the front door and began to welcome the townspeople and the travellers who would be her customers.
That’s how this webpage came to be. It has gone through a few incarnations since. It began as a series of fictional stories about characters and events at a place that now remains only in my memory. After a while I invited a friend to contribute entries too. It morphed into a blog of sorts. Eventually my friend went off to start her own blog and I occasionally posted something to this one, but it was all I could do to maintain my personal blog elsewhere. I was scattering my energy and not making good use of Stubblejumpers Café. I wanted everything in one place, and I wanted a new start.
So I deleted all the old stuff from this site and started fresh, here. And here I am. This is my letter to the world about my world, written from the Stubblejumpers Café that exists in my heart.