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.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

“Our Boy is Hurting Right Now”

Leon burps, wipes his mouth and gives thanks for Hungry Andy’s pit beef sandwich. In the well-lit restaurant around the corner from le café, he reclines at his table. It is a gloomy Monday night, a week before Christmas Eve.  The stout, army veteran with beard and build reminiscent of Santa Claus, sole patron in the shop, peers at a television adjacent Andy’s ordering counter. The channel is CNN.

More details emerge in the Newtown school massacre. What really motivated the killer?

A familiar voice interrupts the noise of the newscast.

“Well look who it is!”  The barista strolls into Hungry Andy’s with a cold weather knit cap on his head and stuffed backpack on his shoulders.

“Hey, man,” Leon says.

“Well look at you with the long hair,” remarks Andy as he walks out from the kitchen.

“Gotta hide it at the shop. Can’t be serving hairy grub, you know,” explains the barista as he drops his pack on the chair beside Leon. “You goin’ to the café Christmas party tomorrow?”

“Yeah, I think so.”

The barista walks to the counter, “So, Andy, that was me on the phone, I gotta run.”

“Oh.” Andy turns towards the kitchen to return with a plastic bag containing a cheese steak and a side of sweet potato fries. “Ten dollars.  Neighborhood discount.”

“Awe, thanks, Andy. Keep one for yourself.”

“So I’ll see you tomorrow?” Leon asks.

“Something came up. I’m leaving town before dawn. Won’t be back til late.”

“Where you goin’?”

“Long story. Ask around at the party tomorrow.” With that, the barista pushes open the double doors and walks into the mid-December cold.

Leon turns his attention back to CNN.

He loved his video games. StarCraft. He spent days planning, plotting and executing futuristic war strategies. And then there’s this, Lanza was at a shooting range three times over the past six months, at least once with his mother.


The sun rises, barely visible as it struggles to penetrate the gray clouds in the seven o’clock hour that is Tuesday morning.  The barista and Abby are driving through Delaware, the proud, first state of the Union,

Since the barista winterized the Dolphin, Abby offered her car for the five-hour impromptu road trip. Abby has patronized le café and lived in the Point called Fells years before the barista arrived on the scene.  She often grades the writing of her eighth grade English students during the barista’s Sunday shifts.

 “So this is turning into a type of college reunion,” the barista reflects, “There’ll be folks here I haven’t seen in 15 or so years.”

“It’s nice that so many are making the trip,” Abby responds with sad smile. “No doubt they can use the support.”

The barista digs his sunglasses from his backpack. It is when he rests them on his nose and ears when the daydreams begin.

The year was 1999, springtime. The place was Philadelphia, on a softball field. The barista is on second base after launching a double into the right center gap. Rekos steps up to the plate wearing flip flops. He might as well be swinging a wiffleball bat on the beach. Then he lines a base hit in the hole on the left side—a la Nomar Garciaparra—as the barista races home.

That’s how the season went that spring. That Pi Kappa Phi squad swept the La Salle intramural tournament and advanced to the City Six tournament at Temple where we had our asses wiped. One of the barista’s fondest memories—along with his first inning dinger at Temple to give La Salle their only lead in the playoffs—was of his flip-flopped first baseman.

“It’s about time we stop for some coffee,” Abby decides.

In agreement, the barista pulls into the next rest stop where they stretch their jaws and their legs. It was a short night’s sleep. He tries to wrap his mind around the events of the past weekend. Cooling off the coffee in his newly purchased paper cup, the television wrestles away the barista’s attention.

Abby appears from the sugar and cream station, “We gotta go. At least three more hours—if no traffic through Philly and New York.”

The barista wipes his eyes, nose and makes his way back out to the car.


The New Jersey turnpike is a monotonous drive—straight and flat with smokestack scenery. Toll booths and traffic disrupt the cruise control, while speeding cars weave between big rig trucks which—at one point or another—block one or three of the four highway lanes. In Abby’s car a recording of Storytellers plays on the stereo. It is the bootlegged, unedited, unaired appearance by the Black Crowes.

The barista slips into another daydream during the acoustic rendition of Nonfiction.

It is the autumn of 2003, in the parking lot of Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego—where the barista had been living for four years. The barista scored a ticket to the Chargers—Patriots football game from his buddy JM.  A group of guys are drinking light beer and barbecuing hamburgers and hot dogs next to their cars. A couple of the guys—Ryan and John—recently moved to the southern Californian city. They were college buddies with JM at Northeastern—certain Patriot fans.

“So who are you rooting for?” Ryan asked the barista.

“I don’t have too much of a rooting interest. I kinda like both teams. I’m really an Eagles fan.”

“Eagles?” Ryan said with an air of disbelief.

“Yeah, well, I grew up in PA and went to school in Philly.”

“Where’d you go?” John asked.

“La Salle.”


“Yup. Class of ’99.”

The next question inevitably gets asked when discussing colleges, and invariably—in the barista’s experience—the answer is ‘no’. Unbeknownst to the barista, the law of attraction was in effect.

“You don’t know Rich Rekos, do you?” John asked.

“Do I know Rich Rekos? I’ve only played a hundred beer pong games against that joker. We only pledged the same fraternity. Ha! You know Rich?”

“We grew up together in Connecticut!”

Long, lost brothers: the barista, John and Ryan become instant friends.


It is half past ten o’clock when the barista and Abby pull into a nearly vacant rest stop in Danbury, Connecticut—well, nearly vacant if you discount the lineup of big rig trucks at the weigh station. Most importantly, the bathrooms are quiet so Abby has a place to change into her dark skirt and turtleneck. The barista slides on his gray suit and fixes his green tie from the passenger seat. He then dials Ryan and John. Each are married with children now, and settled in New England.

“Hey, bud,” greets the barista, “You guys want to meet for a bite?”

“Nah, you go ahead without us,” Ryan says, “John’s grandmother made blueberry pancakes. Let’s rendezvous at the church.”

Looking dapper, the barista and Abby saunter out of the gray morning into a bright Danbury deli.

“We’ll take a cup of broccoli soup, a Reuben…”

“And a newspaper.”

They sit by the window at one of the two simple tables and wait for their lunch. Abby reads the headlines.

A week of mourning: Funeral details set for some school shooting victims. 
First responders knew ‘it was something bad’
The evidence: Investigators trying to determine what led to rampage.

--from The News-Times, Danbury, CT

“Reuben and a soup,” the gentleman announces in his New York accent as he delivers the order to the table. “So where are you off to today?”

“Well,” the barista hesitates. “We’re going to a funeral. A buddy of mine’s daughter was a victim of the shootings.” The confession chokes him. As the words flow from his mouth, his stomach twists like a washrag being drained of water. It was the same feeling he first felt upon waking Saturday morning, when he read John’s text message:

Rekos’s daughter was killed in the school shooting yesterday. That was our hometown. Our boy is hurting right now. I’ll try and take care of him as best I can. Horrible.

“I’m so sorry,” the gentleman nods, “Ya know, I’m a retired cop from New York City. And I ain’t seen nothing like what they’ve seen over there. My heart goes out to you and the family.”

“Thank you.”


A line of cars stretch at a standstill nearly three tenths of a mile on Sandy Hook Drive, from St. Rose of Lima Church to a packed diner adjacent the highway. Time quickly approaches noon, so after exiting the highway the barista pulls into a bank parking lot to avoid the wait. As he and Abby walk along the sidewalk, through his sunglasses he notices a man crouching like a catcher, wielding a camera with a long-range zoom lens.

“We just had our picture taken,” notices the barista while the Connecticut State Police herd the media away from the church parking lot and the memorial. 

As Abby and the barista walk across the street, two lines form, wrapping around the entire front of the church—the same church from eight years ago where Rich married Krista. Inside, it is standing room only.

The silence is deafening. The organ begins to play. The hearse arrives. The tiny coffin provokes more tears. The priest’s wand cries holy water. And the stuffed toy horse slouches atop the little casket.

The mother and the father stand near, exuding both courage and anguish.

The barista prays for sustainable strength for the affected parents. He prays for protection and peace for their families. He prays for the change that will thwart this disturbing trend that has taken hold of America.

In Loving Memory of Jessica Adrienne Rekos. May she ride a horse into heaven.

Rich & Krista have now established the "Jessica Rekos Memorial Fund." Donations can be made at any Wells Fargo location, and will be used towards a riding camp/scholarship at Jessica's barn, as well as other projects in her memory. Your contributions to this great cause would be greatly appreciated by the Rekos family. Thanks for your support.

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