Friday, January 16, 2009

Fun at the cafe

It's been clear for awhile that turning 80 was not going to be on Dad's highlight list. Maybe we changed that a little.

As soon as Dad left for his Friday morning trip to the cafe in Inman, Mom called -- the signal to come pick her up. We weren't too worried about Dad figuring out that something was up. He hadn't even asked Mom why she didn't go on her early morning walk.

The entire five mile trip to Inman was taken up with WenDee and Mom having a lively discussion about whether we should walk in with the wax cupcake candle or the really cute miniature burnt sugar cake that Mom had made last night. When we rendezvoused with my brother and sis-in-law outside the cafe door Nadine had some sweet comment about the miniature burnt sugar cake so we were glad WenDee won the argument. After some last minute staging, our entourage boldly walked into the cafe singing Happy Birthday.

Dad was sitting at the men's table and had his back to the door. It took him a little bit to figure out what the ruckus was about but soon realized he was about to be the center of attention.

Action at the cafe! Everyone seemed pleased with the change of routine.

With everyone slapping him on the back and telling jokes that are told at every 80th birthday in the cafe, Dad left his mens' table and joined us at the round table. Only Shirley, Gerry, and granddaughter Ashia remained from the first wave of breakfast eaters.

Dad seemed to be warming up to the idea of celebrating his birthday in one of his favorite places, the local cafe. WenDee planted a big red lipstick kiss on his check and the long-time favorite-of-all-the-men waitress Polly came out with a big candle in the middle of a biscuits and gravy platter. (Dad usually has oatmeal on Friday but on his drive in to town he had already decided to splurge.)

The ladies table was thinking of coming over to sing and as soon as Ralph agreed to the plan they all came over. After that, Keith the banker, Steve the barber, Mary Lou the doctor office manager, Marianna the church organ player, Frances the neighbor and Lois the wife-of-the-guy-that-built-our-barn came over to wish Dad a good day.

Lyle, Helen, and Ralph quickly adjusted to not having "their" usual table available. Big Al was everywhere pouring coffee from either hand.

You could tell Murray and Nadine were mighty pleased with how their idea was going. It was also just the right place to present Dad with a John Deere picture book. Ol' John Neufeld came over to say the tractors in that book were the wrong color, otherwise it seemed like a nice present.

Murray couldn't finish his plate but said the reason he ordered pancakes topped with peaches was because it was only $2.95. WenDee, the pancake quest lady, gave the Harvest Cafe, one of her highest ratings ever.

You can only have these kind of scenes in small towns. And, even now, five hours later you know someone is telling the story about the action in the cafe this morning.

If you can see the charm in this story then you "Get Kansas!"

KE #2 Marci Penner, proud daughter of Milferd.


Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday, Mr. Penner!

Larry Hornbaker, KE 2013 said...

Happy Birthday, Mil!
Wendee, you didn't perhaps take some video did you? Would be interested in seeing more. Sounds like great fun!

Patsy Terrell said...

I love seeing these personal touches here. Happy Birthday to Mil!