Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Most Unlikely Place

May 26

Dennis Miller Jr. and Cynthia dancing at the Most Unlikely Place
Mist covered Lake McConaughy as my steps took me away from her shore.  Yesterday's beauty was now shrouded from view.  The wind was perfectly still, I had to wonder if Nebraska had stopped breathing.
A few miles into the hike, I noticed a female turkey sitting ten feet to my left. I assumed at first the bird was another piece of roadkill, but then the head moved.  Why was she refusing to flee?  My presence had to have been detected.  A small form emerged from beneath her to clear up all my questions, except for who killed Jimmy Hoffa.
Then came another strange confluence of events.  I was stopped at a railroad crossing when the train came to a halt.  I strongly considered hopping between the stalled cars, but something told me to be patient.  A couple minutes later a pick-up truck pulled next to me and asked where I was headed.  After the usual explanations they invited me to their family's cafe in Lewellen, which was only another mile onward.  The ADT turns left down 26 right before the village and I had been unsure whether the tiny place was worth a visit.  Their invite sealed the deal.
Once inside I was immediately set upon by George, a former state trooper who had been involved in the manhunt for Duane Earl Pope (we'll learn more about his crime tomorrow).  George was from Doniphan and recognized me from the article in their paper.  He asked me to join him and his brother Daryl, who were having lunch with their wives, whose names I would remember if not for a storage capacity malfunction in my brain.
The owner, Dennis Miller Jr., whom I had met earlier at the crossing came by and gave a history of the place.  The building had once been utilized as a theater, school, community center, basketball court, playhouse, warehouse for the KKK, and grocery store before its present status as a cafe/art gallery.  A comedian whose name slips my mind would have commented that the edifice had more more uses than Lucrezia Borgia's hoo-hah.
Next I met wife Cynthia, who added her name to the long list of people who think I'm from Delaware. She was worried about the busy night ahead.  The small operation was going to have live music and there were already fifty people on the books, which was a lot for her and server Leticia to handle alone.  I offered my services as a grizzled veteran of the restaurant arts.  She accepted, unconcerned at my less than fancy attire.  Cynthia showed up later in roller skates, giving me the idea I had fallen into a laid back gig.
I started the evening as galley slave under the direction of Chef Candy.  I prepared the salad ingredients while the Chadron St. graduate (alma mater of Don Beebe and Danny Woodhead for you football fans) fixed the meatloaf and a baked mash potato dish topped with corn flakes I dubbed "redneck hashbrowns."  The meal went smashingly (I helped with service as well) and I really enjoyed Candy's company, even if I was extremely jealous of her six trips to Alaska.
After dinner I was introduced to Cindy, Dennis Jr's brother Rex's wife.  Son Alex had ridden from Tacoma to Portsmouth, New Hampshire via bike and has subsequently traveled much of the world.  She knew the worry of having a son out there all alone.  She swiftly offered a bed for the night.
Following the obligatory weekly shower to make myself palatable to the rest of mankind, we sat down to exercise our tongues.  Cindy and Rex wear many hats.  She works with a choir and as a medical professional.  He is an organic farmer and carpenter.  They played together in an Irish Folk band as well, Cindy on vocals and Rex on guitar.
The hour grew late too soon and I said good night.  I couldn't have been happier to end up in such an unlikely place.

10 miles/2264 total miles

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Six trips to Alaska, wow and I thought we got to travel a lot. I would love to visit there once! Sounds like some interesting peeps.