“Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.” -Unknown
So, K2 and I decided to take an impromptu road trip and wander our way to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. We loaded up the Toyota 4 Runner and set off early on a Saturday morning. Our plan was to stop for breakfast at some place along the way that was a little off the beaten path or at least somewhere that we do not normally haunt on our travels, i.e., Cracker Barrel. With our back window almost completely engulfed by luggage, camping equipment, medical supplies, emergency blankets, and enough food for any apocalyptic event in the near future, we stopped for breakfast at a cool place in Poseyville, Indiana called The Red Wagon. https://www.theredwagonrestaurant.com/
Breakfast was awesome! The food was exceptionally good, and the prices very reasonable, but the atmosphere was the selling point for us. It is not a small roadside café or anything like what one’s mind conjures up when you think of a small-town restaurant. The building is modern and there is plenty of parking. However, it is in a small town and with that, comes that small town feeling that we found welcoming and familiar. Personally, it always comforts me in some strange way to be reminded of my childhood. I feel a sense of belonging in a small-town setting in much the same way a captain feels at home on his or her ship or a pilot to his or her airplane. I cannot really explain it, but it reminds me of simpler times with little responsibilities and limitless opportunities. The world grew smaller as I aged. Some days, I just want to go back for a spell and watch the cattle grazing in the field by the barn until late in the evening. We all need that special, peaceful place that we can retreat to from time to time. Don’t we now? On this day, in one of smallest towns in Indiana, I was reminded of sitting with my dad in our own hometown restaurant growing up, as he and others would have breakfast, drink coffee, and tell stories of how things used to be way back when.
Being a self-proclaimed champion observer, I discovered a long time ago that if I would just keep my mouth shut and my eyes and ears open that I could learn so much more about people and the nature of things that surround me daily.
A wise old owl lived in an oak
The more he saw the less he spoke
The less he spoke the more he heard.
Why can’t we all be like that wise old bird?
There was a group of about twelve farmers who were eating breakfast when K2 and I first arrived. Honestly, we could tell that the eating had been over for quite some time and now it was down to the drinking coffee and story telling portion of the weekly gathering. I heard talk of corn prices, cattle problems, and of course everyone’s favorite go to…the weather and how ‘them weather folks don’t know anything about the weather, and you might as well just stick your head out of window in the morning if you want to know what the weather was going to do that day.’ The age ranges were all over the place as well. My unofficial census of the gathering members went from early 30’s to early 80’s (the early 80’s gentleman, I know for sure as there was talk of a recent birthday overheard).
Our waitress was careful not to seat us too close to the rowdy crowd when we arrived. I got the feeling that the stories and the laughter coming from the conjoining tables were indeed something of a trademark or calling card for the group. We listened as the stories went on until one by one, they began to make their way past us to the door and as the silence in the back of the restaurant moved forward to our table, I was overcome with nostalgia and perhaps even a romanticized notion that made me wish for my own hometown restaurant and a time long ago that was simpler.
As we were rising to leave, I saw our waitress talking with another employee. “We had better hurry and get these tables cleared”, she said. “That next group will be here any minute now.” I half wanted to stay to just sit and observe. Perhaps, just slip back in time for a little while.
Stay tuned for part 2…