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Another Day in the Country

A Gillwood’s breakfast

© Another Day in the Country

When it snows over night in the country, the world gets very quiet.

It’s like morning holds its breath for a bit, anticipating sunrise. Today is a cloudy day, no sign of the sun, so activity is still slow.

The cat woke me up! Sometimes her purring, in early morning, reverberates so loudly through the room that I mistake it for a train idling on the tracks a block away. Sometimes it’s annoying!

If I move just a fraction of an inch, Skeeter is immediately at the side of the bed, standing on her hind legs, nosing at the bedding, searching for signs of life.

I move. She’s pleased. I get up off the bed. She’s ecstatic and ready for the day.

Me? Not so much.

I check my phone for messages.

Last night, my grandson FaceTimed me — I love that app on my smart phone — and told me that he’d gotten the new pajamas I’d sent in the mail.

Of course, I’d found them on a sale shelf in the men’s department, too good of a bargain to pass up, even after adding the cost of postage to California! They looked so big to me! Was he really this tall?

“They’re the right size, Baba,” he said. “I’ll prove it to you and send a picture tonight when I go to bed.”

My fingers fly across the keypad.

“We had snow again last night,” I tell him. “And this morning I’m having a Gillwood’s breakfast.”

He knows the code: A Gillwood’s breakfast is a spinach omelet with salsa on top.

That’s one of my favorite things on the menu from my favorite little eatery in downtown St. Helena, California. It’s a family tradition to go there, at least once, for breakfast when I’m back in the Napa Valley.

We did it about a month ago, and even though the restaurant has changed hands, the menu is pretty much the same and some of the waitstaff are still there from when the place first opened 30 years ago.

That’s what makes a restaurant memorable — the food and the staff.

My favorite waitress immigrated from Ecuador, I think, and Mr. Woods hired her at his brand new restaurant that he’d opened with his friend Gill. I don’t even know how to spell her name, but it’s pronounced “So-Chill,” and she quickly became the heartbeat of the place with her lovely smile and thick Spanish accent.

While the food was good, being greeted by our waitress soon became part of the experience. It’s been my constant delight to visit Gillwood’s through the years and find her still working there. It was no exception when my family joined me for breakfast in December.

“Patweeek,” she said, when she came to take our order. “Are you steeal in Kansas? When you come back to stay?”

After everyone had given their orders, it was my turn.

“I think I’ll have steak and eggs, this morning,” I said.

“No spin-ache om-alet,” she asked as she raised her eyebrows.

“I guess Kansas has rubbed off on me,” I grinned as she filled my coffee cup.

This morning, as the coffee perks, I opened the back door to Skeeter’s domain on the enclosed porch, gave her some cat food, and just paused to soak in the view of snow covering the ground and one bright red cardinal at the bird feeder.

Today’s view is also enhanced by a bunny sitting upright and still by the sidewalk, not 10 feet away. He’s scrutinizing me. My eyes are fixed on him. No one moves.

And then, slowly I move back inside to grab my magic phone from the table to take a picture. This is too sweet of a scene to forget!

Slowly, slowly, I open the porch door. The bunny doesn’t move. Slowly, I raise the camera and snap his picture. He doesn’t move.

“So, are you hungry this morning?” I ask.

And then he moves, skittering across the snow and around the corner of the house.

It’s just another day in the country, and I’m going back inside now to make myself a Gillwood’s breakfast!

Now that you know the recipe, you could have one, too!

Last modified Feb. 6, 2020

 

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