I stopped in at the cafe. Hadn’t been over there in awhile. I heard a guy, I won’t say who, complaining about farming. It’s all wrong, he said. It’s killing the town. He’s from a family that’s been farming in this country for a hundred years. He’s the only one who isn’t still farming. Teaches over at the high school. You know what they say about people who can’t ‘do.’
I had thought I might sit in there awhile, have a cup of coffee and read the paper for awhile. I had an appointment at the dentist, was waiting to get one of my back teeth looked at. It’s been hurting lately when I drink anything hot. I think there’s a filling in there — my teeth are like mother lode now that I’m this age. Probably not one of them is just teeth any more. I drink something hot and that tooth just throbs. I thought stopping in at the cafe might take my mind off it a little, but after awhile of listening to that guy, I decided that was worth even than the dentist.
I stepped out and walked up the street. It’s true, the town isn’t a lively as it was when I was young, and we used to come into town once a week in my Dad’s Model B Ford. But it isn’t all dead and gone like that teacher said it was. And if the theater is closed down and the old Astoria hotel build is gone and there’s just a lot now, well it isn’t as if I had anything to do with that. It wasn’t that any farmers ever came in to town and stayed at that old hotel.
They say the food at that cafe is better than you’d expect. I’ve heard that guy, I won’t say his name, grows a lot of what they cook at his house, in his back yard. He’s got his back yard all tilled up and he’s got a regular produce field going there, I hear. You can see why he never made it as a farmer. He can’t tell the difference between a farm and a back yard. Maybe that’s why they say the food is better than you’d expect, since he’s growing it. I actually thought it was because they serve those funny kinds of salads like you see in the Twin Cities, with all kinds of leaves in there you never heard of. Or they cook up dandelion leaves — whoever did that since your grandmother did it in the Spring when the food in the root cellar was about out and you felt close to starving?
I sorta liked that place. The gal that owns it is a pretty gal. She’s from out of town somewhere, but she seems all right. Probably doesn’t know any better where to get her food from. But I don’t want to go back if it’s going to be the kind of place that’s against farmers. The good Lord knows we don’t need any more people in this world who are against farmers.