Old Home Café: The Next Generation

By Edward Floden, based on characters and situations created by William D. Fries, Jr.

Episode VII: The Boy Scouts Wouldn’t Have Done It This Way

(Originally published in The Legend-News of 2003 January 6.)

The time: 5:01 A.M. The place: Pisgah, Iowa. The temperature: 68 degrees Fahrenheit, 20 Celsius. The anxiety level: high.

Less than one minute earlier, Jon Bach had opened the doors of the Old Home Café for business. He really didn’t expect any customers to arrive at this early hour, although he well knew that many of the local population had been up since dawn, an hour earlier. Daylight Saving Time has little meaning for a farmer. Or for a guy who had decided to open a restaurant in a rural area.

The coffee maker had already prepared three pots of caffeinated brew, and the kitchen grill was warming up. Eggs, bacon, ham, and the other necessities of breakfast were stocked in the refrigerator. The tables were set with utensils and napkins and condiments. Everything is ready, thought Jon, including me.

Jon wasn’t expecting much business on this first day, nor was he prepared for it. He was the only employee of the Old Home Café; there was no cook, no waitress, no one else to help conduct business. He figured that whatever happened today, he could handle it alone. He’d placed signs in the windows yesterday: “Wanted: Cook, Waitress”. Not many jobs were available locally, and he estimated that he’d fill those positions in a day or two. In the meantime, he could handle what few customers he’d get.

He was quickly proven wrong, when at 5:02 A.M. on a warm July morning, six customers walked through the front door. The invasion was on.

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