Monday, March 06, 2006

Everything is food, with me.....

The only place to have a plate of eggs and a cuppa joe in Madrid, NY is the the Hometown Cafe. Just inside the door is a long formica service counter lined with metal-based stools.(the kind that twirl!) Mismatched decor is placed haphazardly about the dining area, some of it being a cookie-jar collection on shelves, posters for jamborees, and baskets of plastic plants. To top it off, shiny St. Patrick's Day banners and garlands bedeck the thumb-tack scarred walls.

I like it. It's unpretentious. Besides-the food is served piping hot, and when the morning is blustery and below zero, that fact overrides any lack of ambience.

A group of eight locals are celebrating a birthday, boisterously greeting just about everyone that comes in by name. After their breakfast, out comes a chocolate cake smothered in some kind of glossy white stuff. Plates of it are foisted upon all, myself and waitresses included. The humor is quite ribald, but a feeling of general comraderie and good will pervades the air, along with the aroma of fresh coffee, bacon and fried potatoes. I can almost feel the molecules of eau de Diner permeating my hair and sweater, leaving me no choice but to bring them with me into the warm choir room at CFA.
It reminds me of an incident last winter, in which I had hurriedly taken steak out of the broiler moments before bundling up to attend a rehearsal. For the next hour, every student that entered the classroom inquired loudly, "Is someone eating steak in here?" or, "mmmmm. Steak!" I had to explain numerous times, sotto voce, that it was my hair they smelled.

Anyway, here I lounge in the Hometown Cafe, coffee at elbow, gearing up for a weekend of travel, errands, and rehearsals. The friendly clink of dishware and the rumble of easy conversation peppered with an occasional belly-laugh is a pleasing antidote for the apprehension I sometimes feel when faced with a tight schedule.
I size up my next 48 hours: Will I have a safe journey? Meet everyone on time? Bluff through rehearsals that I'm never quite ready for? Find the girls at the airport and cart them home in a timely manner?
Sure I will.
It's invigorating to have a different kind of weekend ahead of me; a much neeeded break from the hum-drum. If anything challenging comes my way, I'll face it with pluck and courage, Lord willing.

Perhaps a piece of birthday cake for breakfast isn't such a bad idea, after all.


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