Weeks earlier a friend who grew up in western Kansas said, "Since you're headed to Colorado you should stop at the Trader's Post in Kit Carson. It's the best breakfast place in the entire world, and it won't be too far out of your way. So it came to pass that Judy and I pulled into the heralded dining spot at 10 am on a Tuesday morning. The unpaved parking lot was flooded, a consequence of the preceding week's torrential rain, highlighted by a deluge of 3" in one hour the day before. Presumably the citizens of this high plains region were pleased with the drought busting moisture.
The building looked like a western trading post giving credence to its name, but there were signs of neglect. We found a dry spot to park and strolled to the front door. There we noted a prominently posted 'For Sale' sign, not a good omen. Upon entering we noticed both a paucity of customers and an abundance of flies. The latter presumably attributed to the two large cattle trucks sitting in the parking lot.
We tried to find a table with the fewest flies, but this was futile. We were greeted by a well-rounded, in a Rabelaisian way, and pretty young waitress. I mentioned that we had been told that Trader's Post offered the best breakfast in the world, and we had traveled some distance to see for ourselves. She responded boldly, "Well, we do serve very good food here."
The menu offered a generous variety of options. I asked the waitress for her recommendation, and she said, "Make sure you order something with bacon."
So I ordered the Hungry Man featuring two hotcakes, two eggs, bacon, sausage, hashbrowns, and toast for the tidy sum of $6.95.
Judy was a bit snarky and asked if they provided flyswatters with their meals. The attractive server politely responded that the health department didn't allow that, presumably preferring living flies to dead ones amidst ones' meal.
I'm not a bumper sticker kind of guy, but if I were mine would say, "If You Don't Like Bacon, You're Wrong." The bacon was good, but not noteworthy, in keeping with the rest of the meal, and the search continues.
As we were finishing, a well-dressed woman in her 40's walked in. She looked even more out of place than we did, so she caught my eye. She approached the counter crowded with sweet rolls and slices of pie and asked our waitress, "Do you have iced coffee?"
And the reply was, "No."
And she walked out.
This encounter brought me back to my New Zealand trip with Ben. On more than a dozen occasions Ben would enter a coffee shop and request iced coffee. The predictable exchange would go thusly:
"Do you have iced coffee?"
"Do you have coffee?"
"Do you have ice?"
"Together, we can work this out."
And he would pour his coffee into a cup of ice.
My friend provided some other helpful suggestions for our trip to Colorado. We toured the Garden of Eden in Lucas, KS about 16 miles north of I-70. Then we dined at the Western Kansas Saloon in Wakeeny. All worthwhile side-trips if you're not in a hurry. And even though the breakfast in Kit Carson wasn't spectacular, the drive along Highway 40 from Oakley, KS to Limon, CO is much more scenic and interesting than the I-70 route.
It started out innocently, 4-year old Finn sitting on a stone wall with his little friend, who was eating a cupcake. Owing to the inherent goofiness of little boys, he inexplicably decided to take a dive for his Mom just as she took the shot, resulting in an unintended action photo:
You'll be pleased to know that the cupcake survived the inadvertent disturbance. No children were harmed in the creation of this memory.
One of my fraternity brothers, Jim Silkenat, is a very successful lawyer in a giant NYC firm. This past year he was elected the president of the American Bar Association's board of governors. One of the prerogatives of this position is he gets to select the location of the annual board meeting, so he chose his hometown, KC. He hosted a welcoming reception for the group at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum with a dinner catered by Jack Stack's set up on the baseball diamond that is the centerpiece of the venue.
The after dinner entertainment for the event was me. Amazingly, Jim read and liked NNAOPP, and he wrote to say that very much enjoyed the read, particularly as we have quite a bit of shared history. He said he'd like me to talk about the book at the upcoming meeting. Then as the date approached, he reaffirmed the offer, but he upped the ante saying, "Why don't you play a few banjo tunes as well?"
All I'm willing to say about the evening is that no one was injured. I told a few of the stories and did my little schtick about the process of writing the stories that evolved into NNAOPP, the unsuccessful attempts to get an agent or publisher, the process of self-publisher, and the transformation of a shy, introvert into a shameless book huckster. That went reasonably well. Sadly, while standing amidst the life-sized statues of Negro baseball greats and within earshot of the Jazz Musicians Hall of Fame, my banjo fingers turned to jello in front of the distinguished crowd of 100. Songs that I thought I owned didn't come out as well as I would have liked. I will, however, persevere.
Jim, thanks a million for your kind efforts in giving me a forum for the book.
Last week Judy and I went to a Royal's game and sat next to a very chatty man and his wife. As I returned from a concession stand visit, the man was asking Judy, "Your husband looks familiar, is he someone I should know?" I returned in time to assure him I was a nobody, but I did write a book. He listened with what appeared interest as I told him about NNAOPP.
The next morning I checked the Amazon website and was pleased to see that the sales total increased by one that evening, presumably thanks to the chatty Royals fan.
Prospero's Book Store at 39th and Bell, in KC, MO has joined the list of fine retailers carrying NNAOPP. Bruce Smith Drugs continues to be the sales leader at the retail level. Sales now stand at 1,320 copies. I'm getting close to being unembarrassable.
Happy 4th of July. God bless America.Chuck