By Jay Merton
Happy Labor Day, Gentle Readers! It is a fine Saint Paul, Minnesota morning with the temperature a pleasant 65ºF. I was just thinking that all too soon we’ll be reporting temperatures in degrees below zero [[shudder]]!
Pleasant as the weather is in Saint Paul, we decided to have our chipped & well-used “Codger Collectible (January ’07 Edition) Mugs” of organically & shade-grown, fair-trade, Guatemalan-Roast coffee, here in Danger Bay at Silverthorn’s Café instead. We both have a very busy Labor Day in front of us in the Real World.
As we clumped up on the boardwalk and entered the café, we saw Hiram, Sr. behind the counter, Medlar Farkleberry, and an old geezer (who we haven’t yet met) at the counter.
We headed for our usual table, the one by the front plate-glass window when Hiram called out: “G’mornin’ fellas. Please have a seat here at the counter—it’s too early for me to be traipsing all the way over there.”
“Saving your energy for the morning rush?” Boomer asked as we ambled over to the counter.
“The Sparrow is making her first Voyage from the harbor this morning,” Hiram replied as we sat at the counter between Lar and the strangely familiar looking geezer, “Maggie tells me they have 30 reservations for the trip, so I figured I’d better save my energy for REAL customers.”
“Aww Hiram,” Lar piped up, “That ain’t what ya’ told me when these fellers came in th’ door, You said: ‘Let’s jes see who wins a battle o’wills, me—or that stubborn old man—bet I kin get ‘em ta sit at th’ counter!’ That’s what ya said.”
“Stubborn old man?” the geezer next to me piped up, “Just a short time here and he’s already got you pegged!”
I took a closer look at the geezer (in Minnesota—we don’t generally stare at people we don’t know—part of our passive-aggressive nature) and realized who it was: “M…” I began, but was interrupted by Boomer:
“…Jay! We gave him back that name for his own purposes—remember?”
“The ‘Codger,’ as he is known in these parts,” Hiram said, “used to fish commercially, until 61 was re-routed away from Danger Bay. Used to sell fresh Lake Trout from his shop on the pier, but the realignment of the highway caused his business to dry up. In fact, that’s where you guys have your office now.”
“Yep,” the Codger added, “I left the blog, but kept the keys. I have all the passwords (heh-heh), so I can visit whenever I wish, and regale you with my wit & wisdom.”
“But, who drew you?” I asked, taken aback just a little, “You can’t draw worth spit!”
Boomer only smiled.
“OK, there’s only one ex-Codger left,” I thought aloud, “but he says he’s waaay too busy for this stuff anymore.”
“Is this where we meet for the boat trip?” came a voice from the entry…
TO BE CONTINUED…