Did I say it was cold?
Someone in Ripon told me it was -16 or -17 degrees on her thermometer. It's still cold as I head to lunch at Kirstina's Cafe downtown. At the entrance, moisture has frosted on the inside of a big window. "D-L-O-C" someone has scratched out in the frost from the inside, where of course the message reads "C-O-L-D."
There is a small table not far inside the front door, suitable for a lone duck like me. A woman sits at a table for four farther in. She wears her hair short, her blue sweater thick. She has a coke and three glasses of water in front of her. She wears the distant look of someone waiting for other people to show up.
I've only pulled my chair out, I haven't even got my coat off yet, and the young waitress is asking if I'd like coffee. She pours it quicker than I can sit down. When I sit down, it is with my back to the door.
The place is busy, but it's not crazy-busy. I've been here other times when you had to wait for a table or booth to clear before you could sit down. Today there are a few empty places.
The level of noise rises and falls as people come and go. Some finish their meal and leave; others come in, rub their hands to warm them up, take the empty place.
It's Kristina's Cafe - "You've Tried the Rest; Now Try the Best" the sign says.
All around, the lower portion of wall is wood; the upper portion above the wood is wallpaper with a fabric feel and look to it. The chairs are blue-green; the carpet on the floor is blue, green, and red. There is a smoking area in the back half of the restaurant, closer to the kitchen. Framed art is hung along the wall off to my right; above the row of booths there, an eagle, a peacock, a still-life of a dried arrangement, and a plate with a duck painted on it.
To be continued....