Old Home Café: The Next Generation

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

Episode IX: Jon and The Cake Factory, Part Two

(Originally published in The Legend-News of 2003 January 20.)

Oh, boy. 5:04, and already he had eight customers. This was not what he had expected. He turned towards the new arrivals, said “Any available seat, folks,” and turned back to the booth.

Ben and Ruth McConnell were both of them were dressed for outdoor work, wearing waxed cotton field coats and five-buckle boots. Just an hour earlier, they’d been out in the field, feeding the cattle.

“What can I get you?” asked Jon.

“Coffee. Eggs. Bacon. Toast,” said Ben, grumbling. “What’s your name, son?” he asked.

“Jon, sir. Short for ‘Jonathan’. And what will you have, ma’am?” Jon asked, turning to Ruth.

Ruth was more cheery than her husband. “I'll have the same; make ’em scrambled. And just ignore Grumpy here; he didn’t get enough sleep last night. I’m Ruth McConnell, and this is my husband Ben.”

Jon shook hands with Ruth. “Pleased to meet you. You too, Ben.” Jon held out his hand to Ben, who shook it with the grip of a man who’s done naught but manual labor all his life. “White toast,” said Ben.

“Yes, sir,” said Jon, as he poured a cup of coffee for each. The carafe was almost empty; he walked back to the coffee maker and placed the pot on an unused burner, then went into the kitchen. He cracked four eggs onto the grill and added a dozen strips of bacon beside them, then popped four slices of Old Home Bread into the stainless steel toaster.

Eight customers in less than ten minutes; this was more than Jon had expected to see in the first two hours.

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