Saturday, November 14, 2015

Where Everybody Knows Your Name

Sometimes you want to go
Where everybody knows your name, 
And they're always glad you came;
You want to be where you can see, 
Our troubles are all the same;
You want to be where everybody knows your name.
~ lyrics from Cheers TV Show's theme song

Unlike the anonymity of an urban Starbucks, coffee shops in rural Kansas are where everyone really does know your name--and the names of your parents, your siblings and cousins, your aunts and uncles and often even your great-grandparents.   You get the picture!

There are no lattes, cappuccinos or expressos here but there is a bottomless cup of coffee and a lot of friendly banter.  The coffee shop is a gathering place for the community and Stafford boasts two of them.  Joan's is the one out on the highway and the other on Main Street is called, well, it's called The Gathering Place.

Pictured are Tim Jacobson, Phyllis & Willard McClure

At either location, you can get a cup of coffee and a cinnamon roll for less than two dollars.  But even more important is the comaraderie you receive from the other patrons.

Pictured are Randy Fritzmeier, Bob Minks and Kenny Sewing

Before farmers head to the isolation of their fields, many gather at the coffee shop to discuss the falling/rising price of their crops, the equipment and labor problems of their operations and, of course, the weather.  The coffee shop is the equivalent of the urban dwellers' office water cooler or the school's teachers lounge.  Social media?  Not so much but why chat with someone online when you can do so in person.

Pictured are Phyllis McClure, Cindy & Tim Jacobson

This week Tim & I tried cinnamon rolls, pecan rolls or caramel rolls at not only Stafford's two cafes but also two other area restaurants.  We had to take my mother to an eye doctor appointment in the big--when compared to Stafford--city of Hutchinson.  Along the way we stopped at the Mennonite-owned Dutch Kitchen.  

Later in the week we traveled to Wichita to have a tow bar attached to our Jeep in preparation for our RV adventures.  As we passed Yoder, KS, we paid a visit to the Carriage Crossing where the cinnamon rolls are as big as an apple pie and the Amish patrons arrive in horse and buggy or seated on a tractor seat.  

It would be impossible to rank the rolls we consumed in order of their taste.  All places served delicious offerings.  But as this plaque on the Gathering Place's wall proclaims--

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