Sunday, September 6, 2009

A Trip Across America: Breakfast at Our Place, Cody, Wyoming

Out of the corner of my eye I saw a joint that looked like the sorta joint me and Dolly-girl's father were looking for. I jerked the wheel hard to the left, crossed Highway 20, and slid to a stop in the gravel lot of Our Place. I set the brake on the Chrysler we'd borrowed for a trip across the country and we moseyed--we were in Wyoming, so moseying is sort of a required pattern of movement--on in. It was birdseed time and this looked like the place me and Giuseppe Bianchi--Gus for short--would be cozying up to the feeder.

The decor on the inside made us think this would be a real good place. I saw some art that if it had been for sale, I would have picked up to hang over the fireplace back home. Dolly-girl would have been so happy she wouldn't have been able to purr or nothing. She just would have rolled her greenies at me and given me a look through the wave--one of those mysterious ones. Come to think of it, I do wonder from time to time what those looks mean.

Me and Gus were just starting Day 6 of a road trip across the country in honor of some birthdays we were having this year. We'd been looking at straight and flat for Days 1 through 5 and I'm here to tell you that we took a lot of South Dakota grasshoppers out of circulation, follow? Anyway, we were hoping to see some new kind of territory, and we weren't going to be disappointed. Not that there's anything wrong with flat and straight--it's got its own good points.

Anyway, Our Place, I'm guessing here, looks about the same as it did when Carolyn and Ida Helen, the two main missys, were girls and I'm guessing that was sometime after wagon trains but before air conditioning. People looked up from their cuppas when we walked in--the joint was full of people who looked like they belonged in a cafe in Cody, Wyoming and we didn't. Spoons stirred blonds and eyes followed us following Ida Helen to a table about halfway through the place.

It wasn't my favorite seat, but tables were turned and they were thinking we were trouble. I saw a few holsters get re-positioned just to let me know that if it was birdseed and a little idle chatter we were after, we were in the right place. Anything else and we'd better be mounting up and heading west like we had a bur under the saddle. We settled in. and looked over the whaddaya-want. It was full of old standards. If you were looking for some of that fancy feedbag stuff you see in Stumptown, Our Place isn't your place.

Ida Helen poured us a couple a cups of what was going to have to pass for joe and it sure wasn't what we'd be stirring in Stumptown, but then I hadn't had a taste of good grounds since I caught the Clipper back east to start this motor adventure. Carolyn strode up--mosey wasn't in her corral, see? "What'll it be, fellas? I see Ida Helen already got you started with our famous 25¢ joe." "She shor has," I drawled, trying to blend into the place and thinking that the mud was priced just about right. "I'll have the Noah's son in the wreckage, whisky." "What the hell kinda talk is that, stranger?" "I mean, the ham scramble with rye toast. Sorry, I thought I was someplace else." "It's yours, but mind your self in here Jack, and..." Gus looked up from the menu. "Double it, but wheat toast please." Gus wasn't looking to be on the wrong side of Miss Carolyn, if you get my drift. How did she know my name?

I could see the hash slinger through the feed slot in the business end of the joint. He had a full house on the ticket spinner, but he was working it like a roulette wheel at the casino down the street and plates were flying out for Miss Carolyn (I was showing a little more respect now) Ida Helen, and a young missy--I'm guessing a grand daughter--to pick up and put down in front of hungry cowboys.

Miss Carolyn brought us our orders and said, "Dig in boys." We did. Somebody in town musta been keeping cluckers 'cause the cackleberries were as fresh as they get. Noah's boy was the real thing, grilled, cut in chunks, and then tossed in the wreckage. The whisky was just what you'd expect a long piece from where you might rightly expect whisky, it was marbled with white like they do out there, but it hit a spot that needed to be filled. We finished up, young missy brought more joe, and Miss Carolyn came by with the damage. A Jackson more than covered it and Miss Carolyn got a better tip than Mine That Bird in the Derby. Our Place was just the joint we were looking for to put on the feedbag, but bring cash 'cause the only plastic in the joint is the Formica tables.

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