Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Hangin' at the Coffee Shop

With the boys at camp mornings this week, I've found a cozy little coffee shop. Unlike my regular digs at Dunn Bros. in Rochester, Bridget's Cafe in Zumbrota seems to cater to the farmer and retiree crowd. I'm digging the atmosphere here and find myself playing a bit of a spy, recording conversations in my head and committing characteristics to memory. (The joy and burden of the writer.)

Earlier, two gentlemen--both in jeans, T-shirts, and baseball caps--settled at the table next to me. Spanning a maybe 10-, 15-year age gap, they read the paper while eating their breakfast and broke only occasionally for conversation that fascinated me. An excerpt:

50-something man in red hat: So, the Twins.

40-something man in tightly belted jeans: Yep. Today.

[Sound of silverware against plates, coffee cups being set on Formica, newspaper rustling.]

50-something: So, you have a good visit with your dad?

[40-something takes a sip of coffee. Scoops a forkful of eggs into his mouth. Turns the page of the paper.]

40-something: Was okay.

50-something: Yep.

[Three men at another table get up to leave. One nods at my table neighbors. They nod back, before settling back into their coffee and newspapers. Minutes go by.]

40-something: 'ts gonna be a hot one.

50-something: You know it.

* * *

I have to say: I feel completely at home here; it's like being back in my hometown in northern Minnesota. And bonus: I'm starting work on my graduation lecture this month. My topic: Writing Rural Characters. Turns out there's delicious material all around me.

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