Call me old-fashioned. If you know me well, it is easy to do, I don’t try very hard to hide it at all, I am truly an old-fashioned soul.
The charm of era’s past call to me and I can’t help but be drawn in by the mood and comfort that old music, movies or even antiques evoke. My sister is the same way, we love “old stuff”. Summer is nearing its end, my day’s are filled with canning and picking produce but when I can, I try to slow down and enjoy the charm of summer.
As I am writing this, Dinah Shore is crooning Johnny Mercer’s “Skylark” on my Pandora station, warming my soul with those “old-fashioned feelings”!
Have you seen a valley green with spring
Where my heart can go a-journeying
Over the shadows and the rain
And in your lonely flight
Haven’t you heard the music in the night
The corner cafe, where I fell in love with cooking
As the summer days shorten and that crisp autumn season seems to emerge from nowhere, I am reminded of a favorite summer full of charm. I was nineteen and I had just been hired at my first “real” job. It was a corner cafe in a sleepy town, right off of a busy bike trail. Most of our customers were on summer vacations, and they would peddle up for a nice lunch or just a slice of our iconic square pie, on their way down the bike path.
The cafe was an old general store, that served as both antique store and cafe. The walls on both sides lining the restaurant and the upstairs were stacked with antiques. Eclectic style was personified in both the antique pieces in the booths and the wonderful people who I worked with there.
This special place was called Gina’s Pies are Square. After a half hour drive through Amish country to get to work in the mornings, I would help open up this quaint shop with friends, a cup of freshly brewed coffee and the sound of Frank Sinatra playing on the radio, filling the old store front with the warmth only music can bring, floating all the way up to the pressed tin ceiling.
I had so much fun working at Gina’s and I know that the atmosphere and the people I worked with was why it was so easy to fall in love with cooking there. Gina ran her cafe and managed her employees with love and laughter and she taught her passion for simple, delicious food to me, with patience. The menu was homemade soup and sandwiches, and pizza’s, coffees, Italian soda’s and homemade, from scratch pies, that were baked in square tins. Old fashioned favorites like sour cream raisin and blackberry pie, along with more unique ones like Oatmeal Guinness Stout Pie! She had a nick-name for every local who walked through the door and you felt like you knew them from the lively stories she would share about their lives in the little town of Wilton and beyond!
This was the summer I got engaged! I started buying antiques for the first time that summer as well, many from the shelves at Gina’s and just about every surrounding antique store, for my future house and life with Drew. And this was the summer I learned how to cook new exciting things I had never tried to make before, I fell in love with cooking.
It was such a great summer!
Remember those old Country Time Lemonade commercials way back in the 1990’s (some of you younger readers have probably never seen) the ones that made you just want to hang onto summer forever?
“Due to the scheduling of fall, Summer will be a short ninety-four days…… So while there’s still time, take the long way home…..For these day’s are best enjoyed slowly……”
Those warm and homey feelings are echoed in the simple moments these late summer days here on our farm. Drew working down in the barn, the sound of the milker on the cow at evening chores, the kids playing on the tire swing after school, the sideways light of dusk hitting them in golden streaks and the clip clop of our Amish neighbors driving by in their buggy, going home after a day of work down the road. These congenial, summertime habits are so beautiful to witness.
I am beginning to learn that it is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all. -Laura Ingalls Wilder
Enjoy the rest of summer!
Thanks for reading,
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