I can’t remember if this was in slocan or silverton or the road between. Despite the sign that said open, it actually wasn’t in the timeframe we were driving through. I love places like this. Little spots in the middle of all but nowhere where one can’t imagine much drive by business or much from the locals but still, here they stand. I used to adore the washboard cafe in Canoe. I loved going there with the girls for blackberry cheesecake ice cream while we waited for our clothes to wash in the adjacent laundry mat when our ancient washer or dryer broke down repeatedly! I think there were 8 tables, often three or four had someone having coffee and reading a newspaper, all tables talking both with their own companions and freely across the public space as though we were each connected, and in a way we were. While I often like to be anonymous, it is good to have place ‘where everbody knows your name’, when Gail hands me my mail at the walk in post office or Nikki sells me whatever i have run short of at the canoe general store and says, you have a good day sweetie. I remember her as a little girl in north canoe elementary where incidentally I also covered grades six and seven as did my kids. I don’t mind being small town, it fits me like old denim and gives me a weird sense of welcome walk in when I stumble upon places like this, in the middle of the roads less travelled
In the spring time we visited my daughter in Toronto. We woke before she or her partner and in an effort to be good guests left the house for morning coffee walkabouts. We found a place within the first couple of blocks from their home in Leslieville and joined the regulars as they did the New York times sunday crossword, debated bits of news, discussed local affairs.
The link between these places it seems is in the belonging. In Canoe we have a new restaurant open, the hive. They make great food and good coffee, the atmosphere is a bit spacious for that cozy feeling and currently it is full of tourists with a few recognizable locals. This morning, a weekday wrapping into the wind down of summer tourism I plan to end my bike ride there for a cuppa and try to see if I start to find that piece of connection. It takes a while to find your chair, but once you do, it is a very comfortable feeling that even here on the edge of isolation one sometimes requires.