Thursday, March 23, 2006

If Walls Could Talk

Well, I can't believe that I've put off talking about this for this long already, as it's been five days since I've found out ...

My mom sold her restaurant. I don't know why this came as so much of a shock when I first heard it, because she'd been trying to sell it for a year, and had had three other people interested in it before this person that has bought it. Maybe it's because she's owned it for five years--and worked in it for three years unde the previous owner before that.
So my first reaction was "Wow!", as I am a woman of a lot of words. Heh, I didn't have a lot to say. So I asked my mom, "what are you gonna do now?" (clean her house she told me!) She's dedicated so much of the past five years to that place--running a facility like that is no easy thing, and the only "hired" people she had were my sisters and myself ... and my dad, of course--it was a family effort.

So she hands over the keys tomorrow; I am so totally bummed. I mean, I know that my mom needs a break, but just the fact that next time I go home, it won't be mine anymore.

I tried to think of the last time I was in there earlier this week, and it took me a few days to remember: my dad's birthay. I went back--unbeknownst to him--and we had a little birthday party for him. He was so suprised to see John and me. Ha ha, and then that cake that Vanessa and Andrew decorated!! And the welding rod that we thought was a sparkler.

I've really had some good times in that place. We used to sit in there and play cards after closing, and Lysa and I would get laughing so hard, I'd have to walk out just to get some fresh air and calm down. And then I'd walk back in and just start laughing all over again. And then there's the "I'm sucha good kid ... pet me!" incident. Ha ha.
And then there's my dad and I eating fries, and he's point away and go, "what's that over there?!" And I'd look and go "what?" and he'd steal a fry, and I'd laugh. I fell for that over and over. I'm pretty sure it was intentional.
Mom used to let us have our youth group meetings in there too. We'd all sit at the coffee table and drink coffee and play cards. One time, we loaded John Tilson's coffee with sugar when he was in the washroom, and he came back and put more in; ohh man! And Robert making a milkshake, and not taking it off the blender properly; he spilled it all over the kitchen floor!
We used to come in with our rollerblades too, and mom would yell at us: "Get out of here with your blades on!!" So then we'd have to truck home and put our shoes on. Sometimes we could sneak in and just sit down while she was in the kitchen though. Then we'd get up to leave and we'd get that glare!
I used to sit in there and do homework, do a puzzle, do some dishes (yuck!) Always jumping up and getting people menus and coffee. Coffee times were the best ...
Ladies coffee was at 8:00 AM, then coffee again at 10:00 AM, and at 3:00 PM. They always came at the same time and would talk about who is getting married, who's sick, who's passed away--general small town gossip. Often I'd just sit and listen, and one of them would tease me a little, or ask me a question once in a while. Doug Henry would sit in his usual corner, smoking his cigarette, asking "what day is it?" many, many times. Sam Kidd would tell his jokes, but never really care to hear anyone else's. Larry Cheshire would usually just sit quietly. They used to flip their loonies and toonies to see who would take all the money up to the till, and get to keep the change--which was 99% of the time left as a tip anyway; but eventually that ceased, and they would just leave their loonies on the table and leave. Such a laid back atmosphere; sometimes one of the guys would stand up from the table and get the coffee pot himself! They all knew they were welcome to help themselves, but if they didn't feel comfortable doing so for whatever reason, they would ask and we would be happy to get them a refill. Only in a small town ...
In more recent years--particularly when Vanessa was a baby, and just learning to crawl--we (Lysa and I that is) used to have baby races. We would put Vanessa on one side of the restaurant, and run to the other with a timer, and time how long it took her to get to us. She'd always arrive with this huge smile on her face. When Andrew arrived, and they both grew a little more, we used to play "hide and seek" Usually this entailed hiding behind a chair, under a table, behind the counter, or behind the curtains by the patio window. Auntie Tammy often played along too. Later it was Vanessa running around yelling, "Zazu!! Where are you?!" and he would giggle and run away--she could very clearly see him, but would pretend she couldn't.
And then there was that Valentine's Day that John asked my mom if he could use the restaurant for a date for us. He decorated it up just for me, and cooked me supper, and we just enjoyed the time to ourselves; dancing and just ... celebrating. Of course, when I arrived, I knew none of this was going on, so I was really suprised and touched. It was the best.
Most recently was the Settlers tradition: Marianne and G would come over with the Hellman's, and I'd make some fries, and we would sit and drink coffee and eat fries and Hellman's mayo, and play a game or two of Settlers, and often make plans to do it again the next night.

So, really it's not hard to see why I am going to miss the place so much. It's going to be hard to go back and walk in to that place and not have it as mine anymore. I wonder if I'll have the guts to walk in there at all, actually. I actually used to wish that my mom would sell that place just so she could be home more, but now I realize how much I will miss it. I may not have free coffee anymore, but I have memories that will last forever.

If walls could talk, five years worth of that little cafe's story would be about us.