Welcome to where the seeds of dreams are planted--where one can sip from the charmed chalice of life & meet interesting folk through (hopefully) intelligent conversation.

One never knows nor can expect who will sail into the fray--what we do know is that no soul here is perfect no matter how we try. So let us celebrate & raise our mugs to the idiosyncratic nature of life--to the Kramer's & Norm's of the world, the Roseanne's & Allan Poe's. Some old, some lost, some tortured, some blessed, all souls sharing a drink at the same time in the same place. The ensuing tales are authentic with names trending towards monikers. The flag waving on our doorstep means we're open, so come perk your curiosity in Le Harbor Bungalow Cafe.

Bonjour! Mesherfin! Hasta la vista! Your barista.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Mesherfin...pleased to meet you

Winning the morning battle posed by the remnants of half a bottle of holiday eggnog the night before, the barista felt quite energized for his Sunday afternoon shift at le Harbor Bungalow Cafe.  Heartburn, what is heartburn? The barista thought as his knuckles met the wooden bar frame. 

Le cafe that day was not nearly as busy as the Sunday prior, when every seat was filled, and when a "patron" with the gall to bring a beverage purchased at the neighboring Corporate Grind sat at the first table, taking up two seats with her laptop computer, lifting le HBC's generous free wireless Internet signal for nearly two hours, without purchasing anything.  Not even a 75-cent shortbread cookie.  Now, would-be patrons looking to buy a tasty pastry, rest their tired legs and chat with their significant other had nowhere to sit.  The barista felt insulted—and obligated to say something.

"Can I get something for you?" he asked after an hour passed.
"Shortly," she mumbled, head down and typing.

Almost an hour after that exchange, the barista asked again.  This time, she felt embarrassed, attempted in vain to defend herself and stormed out.  With the table now available, new patrons—the type that actually buy things—rested comfortably at the first table.

"Was I out of line?" the barista asked Jim and Leon who sat at the adjacent tables drinking beverages prepared at le Harbor Bungalow Cafe.
"Nah, man.  She was a mooch."
"She was never gonna buy anything."

The noticeable difference this past Sunday at le HBC was the lack of college students cramming for their semester finals. (College students can afford the 75-cent cookies.) Many seats were available.  The barista found this odd as the final for his writing class was due this week.  Med students are on a different schedule, he supposed. Slackers.

The sleigh bells hanging from the front door knob jingled.

"Salamu alaykum, Mohammed."
"Wa alaykum salam.  How are you Rehgie?"
"Mezian, mezian."
"Can I have one espresso?"

The barista gets a kick out of brushing up his Arabic with Mohammed, a cafe patron and native of Morocco.  (Though the barista must be careful not to overdo the English phrasal verbs.)  Between jobs in the spring of 2010, the barista spent ten weeks in the northwest African country where he learned some of the Arabic language.  During his stay, he tutored English as a second language to Moroccan adults.  The journals he kept and shared caught the attention of his alma mater, La Salle University, who a year later published a profile of our barista in their alumni magazine.

"Funny you showed up now," the barista said. "I am writing a letter to one of my former students in Morocco."

"What is his name?"  Mohammed asked.

"Otman.  He read the story I wrote. The same one you read, that was published in Urbanite Magazine. He had a few questions."

[Editor's note:  To read the barista's Urbanite story see the preceding blog post “A Mountaineer & an Urbanite”]

Mohammed is a polite, middle-aged man who recently stepped out of the unemployment line and behind the register of a  convenience store here at the Point called Fells.  His English is good, but a work in progress.  When time permits, the barista helps Mohammed with English pronunciations, spellings and definitions.

"What does it mean?  To hike," he asked after reading the barista's Urbanite piece.

Having traveled through foreign countries in the past, the barista understands the challenges of learning a new language and a new culture—the potential confusion and the potential loneliness.  If he can ease the transition for Mohammed, the barista will get a warm fuzzy feeling in his belly—like that after a shot of whiskey, only without the burn in the back of the throat.

Even before Otman wrote the barista, Morocco had been on his mind.  The writing final he thought about earlier in the day is a 4000-word creative nonfiction story about his time in Morocco.  He wrote the story—Laughing About the Anti-Christ...—to share the experience.  In fact, the barista treated choice café patrons to a sneak preview.  Chances are good; he will post revised excerpts in this venue soon.  Beslama....good bye.

A Mountaineer & an Urbanite

A scene from earlier this month...

"Jennifer, look who's famous!"  The barista's sarcastic tone complemented his enthusiastic skipping to the news rack.  He opened the December issue of Baltimore's Urbanite Magazine to page 15 and placed it on the cafe bar.  It seems one of his submissions was published:



My first hike above tree line—approximately 10,000 feet above sea level, where the bitter conditions allow little to no vegetation—was on the side of a Pacific Northwest Cascade Range volcano named Mt. Shasta. The season was autumn, four years ago.

Anyone in decent hiking shape can make the jaunt from the parking lot along the dirt trails and underneath the towering Ponderosa pines and white firs. And everyone should. Each step took me away from the buzzing highway, further from the trains' bullhorns. Away from the breaking news and the rhythms and blues of what has become the latest American routine.

About 1,500 vertical feet up from the trailhead (a rather mellow, gradual incline), the only sounds I heard were the high winds whistling through the evergreens, the fallen leaves—brown, yellow, and red—occasionally rustling on the forest floor, and the steps of my hiking boots massaging the earth in 4/4 time. More quiet than the hustle and bustle even at the trailhead, but not silence. Not yet. As these external waves of sound became less frequent intruders of my eardrums, the internal sounds of my mind multiplied. Did I bring the house keys? ... I'm kinda hungry ... I sure wish I wasn't alone ... What a great idea it was to move here ... I hope I don't run into a bear ... or a mountain lion. The voices of my mind gave me the quaint feeling of having spoken to an old friend for the first time in years. With less being forced into my ears, I was able to really listen to myself—or whoever was tickling my mind. Still hiking, I remembered the time I was given a free session from a hypnotist at a health fair sponsored by my former employer. My mind became similarly clear and empty. I also recalled the many hours of practicing yoga, focusing on my breath—which was now silent—and reaching that familiar meditative state. The higher I hiked that hill, the deeper I traveled into the depths of my mind normally obscured by noise—even music. The metaphor was not lost on me.
I reached the barren landscape above 10,000 feet vertical elevation and sat down on a rock. No trees. No leaves. No people. No sound. My mind as barren as the landscape surrounding me. Empty, and silent.

Reggie Stiteler currently resides in Fells Point, where he slings coffee and pastries by day while singing and slapping his bass guitar by night. More of his writing can be found at www.harborbungalowcafe.blogspot.com.



Thursday, December 8, 2011

Poe-etic Licensing

Today, in his spare time, the barista delivered this letter:

     December 8, 2011
     Baltimore Ravens Football Club
     M&T Bank Stadium
     Baltimore, MD
     Marketing Department

     Dear Marketing Director,

     After taking your football team’s name from a legend, that legend now needs your help.  The local museum dedicated to Edgar Allan Poe, author of “The Raven”—the poem that by popular vote in 1996 named this city’s football club—has been cut off from Baltimore city funding.  If that funding is not replaced, the museum in the poet’s former home will be forced to close.  This would be a shame.
You are familiar with The Edgar Allan Poe House and Museum as you generously donated auction items for a fundraiser they held on October 29 at the Lebanese Taverna.  Your tribute to the poet is obvious:  you quote him on your website, you’ve named The Raven’s official mascot Poe, and the purple you wear is the color of the curtains described in his famous poem.  After Poe tragically died and was buried here in Baltimore, the community also has claimed the writer as their own.  Why not go all the way and make The Baltimore Ravens the chief sponsor of the museum?  Sell merchandise there.  Create an outpost.  Expand your audience.  To my knowledge you are the only American professional sports team named after a piece of literature—or any piece of art for that matter.  Take advantage of that uniqueness.

I encourage you to lead the community where City Hall has left a void.  Times are good for The Ravens (9-3), but not “The Raven”.  Help the legend live on.  Contact Jeff Jerome at the Edgar Allan Poe House and Museum.


Reggie Stiteler

cc:  Jeff Jerome, Poe House curator

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Potentially Reciprocating

Racing along Interstate 70 into the Big Crabcake, our barista returned from a Thanksgiving excursion tardy for his afternoon shift at le Harbor Bungalow Cafe.  Mother-of-barista tightly gripped the handle of the passenger side door.  The barista weaved through traffic behind the steering wheel of father-of-barista's SUV while simultaneously leaving Jennifer a voice mail she will not hear until our barista is next to her behind the coffee bar.  An ordinary day it was not to be.

Our barista certainly enjoys a cup of coffee, but never really has he considered himself much of a coffee binge drinker.  That self-perception may change after he nearly housed an entire 80-ounce carafe of joe during his thirteen-and-a-half hour shift Saturday afternoon, evening, night and early morning. Patrons looking to satisfy their munchies and/or caffiine fix were denied entry into their favorite coffee house as beatmaker, engineer, deejay Luis Guanzon rented le Harbor Bungalow Cafe to film a music video.

"I'm Not Her Type" is the title of the song Luis penned for singer-guitarist Julian Roso.  An acoustic guitar-driven pop song about a barista being jilted by a fellow co-ed barista.  Julian, predictably playing the lead role in the video, sported an apron bearing the coffee house's name--an apron our barista is not required to sport.  An apron designed for this special occasion. Luis and his crew worked from dawn until the early hours of Sunday morning.   Jennifer closed her cafe on the production's behalf at noon.  Immediately, le Harbor Bungalow Cafe was occupied by about a dozen cameras, three awkward, craning spotlights, vats of chili, spaghetti and pasta sauce and enough actors, deejays, extras, and hangers-on to fill every seat in the shop.  Word around the cafe was that Luis had a few video shoots on his resume.  The gang worked professionally, seemingly with a plan, illustrating his experience.

"We began shooting around the harbor at sunrise," Luis explained to the barista part way through the production. "The sky looked great, but man we've been at it all day."  Luis and his crew called upon our barista to give his actors a crash course on the espresso machine, provide realistic props, prepare multiple gingerbread-white chocolate lattes and offer his expertise on how to stay energized through 1 a.m.  The barista enjoyed the change of pace to his work day--however long it may be--and was grateful for the day's job perks.

“Hey man, you wanna beer?” one of the extras asked the barista—who earlier allowed the group to discreetly indulge in the libations, as the H.B.C. was closed for business.

“Thanks, but...not many people know this, I’ve been drinking Irish coffee most of the day.” 

The group giggled in surprise.

The barista was grateful for many things this week of Thanksgiving: turkey, health, family, dreams, popcorn…but this fine day Jennifer topped the list.  As far as bosses go, Jennifer bakes the cake.  Not only did she give him the music video shift, but she took twenty bucks from the morning’s tip jar and sent him out the door to make his coffee Irish that afternoon.   She apologized for the unexpected overtime, but the 2 a.m. punch-out loomed only as a minor inconvenience for our barista, as he can walk to his doorstep in ninety seconds from where le Harbor Bungalow Café’s OPEN flag waves.  (Well, unless its rush hour and metal automobiles clog the street he needs to cross.  That Saturday night/Sunday morning he only had to avoid the police or ambulance sirens along with the drunks micturating in his alley.)

Our barista is also grateful that Jennifer puts up with his penchant for posting stories that happen at her coffee house on his creative nonfiction online blog.  She is used to attention, especially after running the business for over five years and raising two kids, but not attention of this sort.

"If there is something you don't want me to write just tell me it's off the record," the barista assures his boss.

"My whole life is off the record," she replied...in jest, the barista surmised.

But just as Luis' music video production has the potential to increase interest and business at the coffee house, Le Harbor Bungalow Cafe holds the potential to drive red eyes and taste buds into her cozy, quaint coffee and pastry shop.  Now after reading this blog, aren't you craving a slice of pumpkin cheesecake?  Wouldn't a warm, creamy, spiced chai latte stretch your weary eyes about now?  Tell me you're not drooling.  Tell me you wouldn't like to visit--and chat with Squeaky.  Tell me you wouldn't like to feed Fister Mishy.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Fister Mishy

The costume reindeer antlers resting on the cash register this morning was the first thing to catch the barista’s eye this mild mid-November dawn, though bigger surprises would be in store…or dare I say, in café… in le Harbor Bungalow Café.

Mildly disappointed no paint fumes remained from artistry practiced by Jennifer the night prior, the barista was grinding the first beans of the day when he glanced toward the back of the shop.  The single-floor narrow row home of a café, receives a fresh coat of color somewhere on nearly a monthly basis.  The lemon-bar-yellow walls provide a nice backdrop for local artists' paintings and photographs, the steel tables recently morphed into a glossy, Smurf blue and the sugar and cream station now proudly sports an Oscar-the-Grouch green.  But it was the scuffed up, painted, tile floor in the back room that Jennifer touched up overnight in the same tan beach sand shade used months prior.  The barista didn’t notice the floors until hours later.  His attention was focused on Fister Mishy.

A cichlid is a type of  fish that can exude the color of a goldfish and the body of a sumo wrestler—at least that is the look of the double-fist sized cichlid living in the back of le Harbor Bungalow Café for the past few of years.  The H.B.C. acquired the slippery gill-equipped fellow from a loyal, hefty, bearded patron who at the time could not provide the pet a home.  Jennifer adopted the creature and her young daughter named him Mister Fishy.  (The barista finds this name lame—but who is to rationally expect an elaborate or clever name from a two-year old?  Hence the intentionally dyslectic variation, Fister Mishy.)

 Before this morning Fister Mishy had a problem.  The problem resulted in a red flesh wound between Fister Mishy’s eyes, visible to patrons relaxing on the plush couches as they sipped their cappuccinos or licked the apple cider frosting of Jennifer’s new pumpkin donuts from their upper lips.  The problem resulted in complaints from members of PETA (People for the Ethic Treatment of Animals) who on a random visit from Washington D.C. one day, popped into the cafe.  The group of three, after complementing Jennifer on her wonderfully tasty homemade pastries, retreated to the back room to enjoy their mixed berry scones or pumpkin truffles or whatever they ordered, when their lower jaws nearly hit the coffee table in horror because of the size of this fish relative to its tank.  Now the barista is no expert on fish-to-tank water ratios, but let’s just say when a fish and its tank is relative in size to a gallon of ice cream in your standard refrigerator’s freezer, something’s amiss.  And the freezer in this analogy is not empty.  A cute log and unnecessary fake vegetation also prevented this tortured behemoth from really spreading its fins.  How it grew to be this large in that tank was puzzling.  It didn’t take a member of PETA to draw these conclusions, the scene just rubbed salt in Fister Mishy’s open wound.

Speculation spread amongst patrons that Fister Mishy was attempting suicide, pushing his nose out of the water and knocking the plastic door open, which is how the wound formed.  If the feeding door was not there, Fister Mishy may have got his wish—unless his wish was something else, like sneaking a taste of Jennifer’s spicy chicken soup.  If that were the case—and if he could jump that far—the barista wouldn’t blame him. But as the comments regarding Fister Mishy’s living conditions multiplied, (I feel so bad for him... The tank's so small... The way he bangs his head on the top of the tank it's a miracle he can still see straight.) the barista did not want to bear the blame for the cichlid's physical and mental health, nor did  his boss, Jennifer.  Leon—the Santa Claus-looking patron who generously gifted the creature in the first place--wanted to care for his spiny-rayed buddy himself.  Leon is the one who changes out Fister Mishy’s water along with the required aquarium maintenance.  His heart is bigger than his wallet.  When the small table under the aquarium was buckling earlier this year, Leon helped to build a fifth, brick leg to keep Fister Mishy's habitat from violently shattering on the floor, flooding the back room.  He strategically placed coffee cup sleeves between the table and the bricks to more evenly distribute the heavy weight.  Leon provides the food, but it is mainly Jennifer and her baristas who feed the monster.  Our barista is amused when he gives the eetsy beetsy pieces of TetraCichlid Cichlid Sticks to children of patrons to drop into Fister Mishy's tank.  Why?  Because the kids jump in shock as Fister chomps violently enough to splash water out of the tank when he’s hungry.  The kids generally jump in delight after the fact, knowing they are safe.  (To date, no child has cried from the experience, let alone been injured on our barista’s watch at le Harbor Bungalow Café.  Though Squeaky did get his finger bit once--but he is a 70-year old man who should know better.)

So Leon, after months—if not years—of promises about getting a new tank for his slimy friend, came through yesterday with a tank twice the size of the former.  It was this five-foot long tank raised on a sturdy, wrought iron stand that blew the sleep out of our barista's eyes this morning.  "Fister Mishy must think he has died and gone to the ocean," the barista proudly exclaimed.  Now if the red, open wound on his scaly forehead heals, the barista, his boss and their sympathetic patrons can rest easy believing Fister Mishy is at peace with his new container and his new life.  If the wound does not heal, maybe the barista will lobby for a Fisses Mishy.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A Gifted Conundrum

Gray clouds cover the harbor this early autumn morning, as well as the popular waterfront neighborhood, the Point called Fells.  Patrons scurry off the sidewalk and out of the misty rain, collapse their umbrellas and yawn their caffeine orders across the counter of le Harbor Bungalow Cafe.  How would America ever operate without caffeine and sugar?--our protagonist, the barista wonders.

The weather this morning reminds the barista of the final day of the Harbor Fest--the first Sunday of this month.  He arrived for his 11 a.m. shift at le Harbor Bungalow Cafe in his brown corduroy barista hat that morning hungover like a homeless war veteran passed out on a bench at the Korean war memorial one neighborhood east of the cafe--only without the irony.  His head as foggy as the skies above.

So why did he get so drunk wearing the hat of bassist at Betters of Lead?  A cafe patron asked him as much as the barista pressed the roasted coffee grounds.

"They were gifts, ya know," answered the barista.  "I feel it's bad luck to turn down a gift.  People are happy to give, who am I to make them unhappy by turning down or passing along a nice frosty, 8.5% alcoholic brew?  So, like Curt the night before, I took one for the team. Okay, I took five for the team.  It's not as easy as it looks."

Despite his sleepy state, the barista continued to justify his position that morning...or was he exposing a weakness?  "Some folks like a drunk band.  There is a certain charm to it.  It allows the crowd to share in the feeling of being vulnerable--to the effects of alcohol that is.  Others give to kind of test the musician--but that usually comes in the form of a shot of some sort."

Betters of Lead, like many bars in many cities across America, pays a modest amount to the acts they book.  Many musicians, like our protagonist, look forward to a few choice beverages as part of the trade-off for the the live entertainment they provide.  In many cases, the better the band, the drunker they become--at least in this neighborhood.  A funny conundrum. 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Harbor Fest, Part II

Less than ten hours after leaving Betters of Lead, the barista--now bassist--returns to the stage (corner of the narrow bar, next to the front door where drunk dancing folk can knock over the tip jar and sway the microphone).  But not before heading to le Harbor Bungalow Cafe for un cafe, with room, for Jamison.

"Hey man you all alone?" 

"Yeah, Michelle went to Good Will," fellow barista says while he simultaneously brews coffee, makes sandwiches and serves single order pastries in large bags.

"When did she turn into Otis?" the bassist replies comparing their young coworker's break to an elderly, regular's daily routine of scavenging the second-hand store for lost treasures between cups of coffee. 

"Hahaha!" Laughs all around...including Otis who sits in the background on his laptop computer.

Walking through the square of the Point called Fells with his hot coffee--brewed in the Arabic style from Guatemala and somehow simultaneously a French roast (and soon to be Irish thanks to Jimmy the German bartender)--the barista wearing the hat of singing bassist meets up with his fearless band mates.

"Curt, did you get any sleep last night?!" The bassist had never seen his comrade so loopy as earlier that morning at the end of the 4-hour set.

"Hardly.  Crissy and I got hungry and hit Denny's last night.  Didn't get back till after five in the morning."

So the CR Experience trouped on with mellow numbers by John Prine, the Eagles and Crosby Stills & Nash, when all of the sudden Squeaky from  LHB Cafe peaks his head through the swinging saloon doors.  

"Haaaaaayyyyy! I know you." Squeaky says between songs.  "I'm on break from working the beer tent."

"You're not sneaking any of the beers, are you?" the bassist says.

"No, can't do that," the recovering alcoholic says.

Curt hits the head and gives the stage to Crissy.  She usually picks the banjo, but it happens to be in the shop this weekend. On guitar she slides into the Beatles "Rocky Raccoon" with the bassist ably following along.  Curt had already led "Ticket to Ride" so when the spotlight turns on the bassist, minutes later, he sticks with the Beatles theme turning Crissy's head--having never heard his rendition on solo acoustic bass.

I once had a girl, 
Or should I say,
She once had me.
                                      --from Norwegian Wood

Slowly, as the afternoon drifts along, Betters of Lead fills up to capacity and the CR Experience's hangover washes away kicking the songs into full gear.  Outside the bar, the streets are blocked off to automobile traffic and vending tents hawk all sorts of crafts and clothing.--scarves, paintings, knit hats, necklaces, T-shirts, even hammocks.  People scurry around like ants.  The saloon doors of the bar swing constantly as people filter in and out. As the tip jar fills, the bassist cannot keep up with the line of Loose Cannon beers behind him.  The name of the beer eerily appropriate.  Why is it so hard for the barista to turn down free beer when he is already drunk?  Can anyone out there relate to his predicament?

Monday, October 3, 2011

Harbor Fest!!! Part I

The neighborhood swelled this past weekend, like the harbor after a tropical storm from the Caribbean—only instead of the nasty urban water flowing, it’s beer.  And lots of it. 

Nothing brings the crowds out like a drinking festival in a historic, 200-plus year old neighborhood—with music…and knick-knacks to look at, if not purchase.  Autumn came to the annual, weekend festival as well, chasing many folks into Le Harbor Bungalow Café to warm up.

The barista wore the hat of barista on Sunday, but a day prior—along with the night prior to that—the barista played the role of bassist at Betters of Lead—a local watering hole—with The C.R. Experience.  Eight of twenty-four hours pluckin’ away and working on his first index finger blister in years.

“Hey, Curt!—I’m back in the neighborhood. Long story. Still want me to get my bass?”  The barista was excited, if not a bit jumpy. 
“Wow.  Ok, tell me later.  We got some extra time since we can’t get Billy off the stage.”  Curt motions to the barista’s right where a fellow H.B.C. patron howls into the microphone and strums his acoustic guitar.

Minutes earlier, the barista returned from his birthplace—an hour and change car ride north along the freeway—where his family celebrated the life of—while burying—his sweet, late grandmother (age 95).  A long day it was, and a long night it was to be.

As a freelance musician, the barista picks up gigs here and there from guitarists who sing and are in need of a chillin’ bassist who also can sing a tune when aforementioned guitarists need to drain their bladder for a few minutes (and/or need a smoke, etc.) because the booze they’ve been sipping to that point in the night or early morning is screaming for release and, as host, they don’t want the music to stop.

“Hey, Reg.  How ‘bout singin’ Dead Flowers?” Curt offers between songs in that dingy, narrow, dim, dive of a bar. Crissy nods, wide-eyed with approval.  The Rolling Stones country-sounding tune is a staple of the barista’s open-mic repertoire, so he nods and sets the pace.

“And I won’t forget to put roses on your graaayy---aaave…”—chills tickled the barista’s spine from tailbone to neck as he sang that final line—a line he sang dozens of dozens of times—but never as he did this night.  A feeling of being in the right place at the right time falls over the barista.  Wait—maybe that was the shot of Jaeger his buddy Rob just bought him before he strolled out through the swinging saloon doors with his cute Brazilian bride.

So not only did the barista read and act as a pallbearer at a funeral that final day of September, but he also celebrated his twin aunt and uncle’s birthday, was forced to cancel a wedding invitation from a cute cinnamon girl, but able to celebrate the anniversary of the wedding of his ole, high school and musician crony.  Things kept aligning.

“Yooo!! Me and Paula will be staying around the harbor tonight,” Rob messaged earlier that evening. “Celebrating seven years of marital bliss, dude!  If your around later, let me know and we’ll get a ‘Boh!”

So the barista finds him in the center of attention in that cramped corner of the bar with a hug on the way in and a shot on the way out.  Friends like these.  Days like this.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Early morning omens

         After noticing the new dog bowl was left outside overnight, the barista cringed and prepared for a long day.  The fact that the water bowl Jennifer uses to attract patrons was not stolen this time was a good sign, but the extra work this harbung was unwelcome given the severity of the barista's hangover.  At least the barista made it to the cafe on time--before sunrise--despite celebrating a successful second gig at the Recher Theatre the previous night.  Like his singer, bandleader Angelique, the barista has an affinity for the whiskey.

       "To a great summer tour," the barista--now bassist--said as he raised his glass after the last shot was poured before they took the stage.
          "A toast to those who make toasts," said drummer Jaime, adding what he always adds.
          Adam, Josh and Angie pound their glasses on the bar before their big gulps.  Smiles reflect around the circle.  This second Recher Theatre show was the final gig of a dozen-show summer tour for Angelique & the "Bedass Boys" as they've come to be called.  Neither the "Shampoo Effect", nor the "Dirty Smurfs" really caught on, despite their innuendo...or maybe because of their innuendo.  
          The past three and a half months have been a weekend warrior tour that led most of the gang from Maine to Kansas and various stops in between--Down East Country Festival, Nikstock(m*therrf.#ckers!!!), High Land Jam, Wichita Pride, Six Flags. They even warmed up some Meatloaf at a New Jersey Quicky Mart Balloon Festival.

         But all that was far from the barista's mind this early morning as he yawned and warmed up the espresso machine.  "Well, at least I don't have to warm up the soup this morning,"  he said as he turned off the heated pot left on overnight.  
         "Good morning!!!"  It's 7:15 am and in rolls Squeaky to the empty cafe.  Squeaky is a bearded,  70-year old recovering alcoholic.  On his clock it's high noon and he wants some more coffee so he can be wired and talk to the hungover barista all morning.
        "Hi, Squeaky," the barista manages as he wipes the previous day's coffee stains from the counter.
        "Has anyone called for me?  You know I give people your number cause I don't have a phone at home."
         "No, Squeaky.  It's what? Seven thirty in the morning?  No one's awake unless they have to be."  Coffee just doesn't taste as good when dehydrated from a night of boozing.  The barista begins to chug water, but it will take time for him to perk up.  But there is plenty to keep his mind from that misery and  keep him busy around the cafe this rainy morning.
         Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiinnnngg!!!!!! Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiinnnngggggggg!!!!
         "Coffee house."
        "Great show last night," Jennifer says in a perky voice over the phone.  After accommodating for the barista's touring adventures all summer, his boss finally got to see a performance first hand.  But no doubt she was calling to check in that the bassist made it to the shop on time.
         "I kinda butchered the first song, but I think we settled in after that.  Thanks, though.  Glad you were able to make it out."
         "So how's your morning going?"
         To vent or not to vent, that is the question.  But as the owner, Jennifer has the right to know about the "State of the Cafe."  Right?  Hmmmm...the barista thinks looking at a list he wrote of 20 things forgotten the night prior.  Just then a customer walks through the door.  "Gotta go!"
         "So what if the doggie bowl was left out," the barista says aloud to Squeaky. "It wasn't stolen."
         "Then it will be a good day," the new positive Squeaky assures. "Good things happen to good people."
         The barista smiles for the first time all morning.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Care for a drink? A spot of tea?

Welcome to where the seeds of dreams are planted--where one can sip from the charmed chalice of life & meet interesting folk through (hopefully) intelligent conversation.

One never knows nor can expect who will sail into the fray--what we do know is that no soul here is perfect no matter how we try.  So let us celebrate & raise our mugs to the idiosyncratic nature of life--to the Kramer's & Norm's of the world, the Roseanne's & Allan Poe's.  Some old, some lost, some tortured, some blessed, all souls sharing a drink at the same time in the same place.  The ensuing tales are authentic with names trending towards monikers. The flag waving on our doorstep means we're open, so come perk your curiosity in Le Harbor Bungalow Cafe.



Hasta la vista!

Your barista.