I was reading a piece from American Journalist, Barbara Grizzuti Harrison.
She was best known for her autobiographical work, particularly her account of growing up as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, and for her travel writing. In the piece I was reading, she said:
“There are no original ideas. There are only original people.”
This started me thinking about a conversation I’d had a little while back, with a dear colleague. You see, she had wanted to take me to this little boutique café that she’d discovered sometime ago.
“We simply must do lunch darling man!” she said, quivering with the excitement, as you do.
I was assured that this particular café was so ‘out there’ and the food, well… “Just simply amazing!”
I thought, no harm in trying this ‘just simply amazing’ food.
Now seriously, I love great and innovative food.
Food that is going to leave me with the “Wow!” factor.
Already, I was starting to salivate at the thought of this culinary experience.
“Totally accessible!” she assured me. “And the view, it’s to die for.”
Arriving at this eatery, I have to confess, the surroundings and the décor were,
‘just simply amazing!’
The rustic ambiance, outdoor settings, with good old-fashioned Formica tables and the ‘retro’ chairs, complete with those old fashioned salt and pepper shakers, sugar and sauce bottles, set the scene and instantly transformed me to a time gone by.
Wait staff dressed in a style more reminiscence of the ’50s.
A beautifully crafted ‘La Gloria’ record player, was playing some dreamy Perry Como, and he crooned away softly in the background.
Delicate china ducks adorned the walls and there was this very colourful porcelain rooster, taking pride of place on the mantle.
Mahogany and Oak tables scattered inside the café, were very befitting to the nostalgic atmosphere.
“Just simply amazing!” I could hear my friend’s words echoing inside my head.
The track that was playing, as I can still clearly recall, was ‘Dream Along with Me’. This was Perry Como’s Kraft Music Hall theme song.
There was an elderly couple sitting at the table next to us and they were totally oblivious to everyone around them and in fact, to their surroundings.
This devoted couple was completely fixated on each other, truly ‘in love’!
Arms outstretched, holding each others hands across the table, they gazed blindly and lovingly into each others eyes.
Then it happened…
‘Till the End of Time’ played and this graceful couple, lovingly embraced and without a care in the world, started dancing right there in the middle of the café.
They couldn’t have cared less who was watching.
This was a tissue moment.
My friend had tears streaming down her face and I have to admit, I was beginning to get a pretty big lump in my throat too.
It was simply too hard to hold back the emotions and tears of this stunning moment. As feelings burst inside, as I thought of my own mother and father.
There wasn’t a sound from any of the patrons, or the staff for that matter, they simply watched, cried and listened to the music that had set this gorgeous couple free.
It was as though we were watching a scene from a movie.
When the song finished, the couple kissed and hugged each other.
With arm out stretched, the elderly gentleman took his beautiful partner, escorted her back to their table and there they sat, gazing into each other’s eyes once more.
The manager, a 30s-something ‘Hipster’ (as this, I understand is the term for such a person who emblazons the café culture amongst other things) brought them a plate of perfect ‘triangles’ and a fresh pot of tea.
Now, at this point, I must tell you that Hipsters are nothing new, because the word hipster, was first used back in the 1940s, with direct links to the popularity of Jazz music at that time.
Today, cafés, coffee, food, beards and bicycles, are prerequisites to this culture.
The elderly gent, poured a fresh cup of tea for his wife and offered her the choice of sandwiches from the plate.
She looked confused and uncertain, not aware of what to do.
Very calmly and with a reassuring voice, he said, “Just pick one my love, it’s your special treat!”
He looked dolefully at the quizzical expression on her face, remembering those wonderful years long since forgotten.
Holding back the tears, the young waitress explained.
“It’s so very sad, Mr and Mrs Perkins used to own this café. It was the best and people came from miles to enjoy their home cooked meals.
“She has dementia and every week, Mr Perkins brings her here for their little treat.”
As for the food… Just simply amazing!