It’s kind’ve gloomy in Delano today. It rather matches my mood. Some of you who drive through or live in Delano (or watch Facebook) have been watching the process of the old building coming down. The river front is now clean, devoid of buildings and the flood plain enlarged. The city can now put up a wall from one end to the other without the worry of a breach at Three Crows.
We’ve moved the piano in and out for the last time. Brad and Greg and Jeff and Stevie and all the rest have cut their last hole in the floor to pump out the basement in a race to keep the water level below the floor boards while the river fills it up almost, but not quite as fast as they empty it.
When I first bought the old girl, we had a little chat. She was, as anyone could see, tired. But I wondered if she was up for one more go. I guess we know she was.
She was a little demanding though. She and I went round and round about being a coffee shop vs. being a restaurant…. She insisted that we be a restaurant and I insisted I didn’t know how to run a restaurant. I lost that one, but it was what she knew and she knew what people wanted. First it was the soup and sandwiches, and then the dinners and then the breakfast. She was tired, but she was a workhorse!
And she was leaky! Brad was always trying to stop all the leaks from the pipes, the faucets, the drains, the dishwasher not to mention the roofs! Water ran the place. Coming in whenever it wanted, and leaving the same way. I first discovered this when I was scrubbing out the storeroom floor (the room in the back that hung over the river). I knocked over the bucket of water and by the time I came back with the mop, I found it had flowed downhill to the back corner and leaked right out. Same with the basement.
At first I had nightmares about the river flooding. The way this building was situated flew in the face of good sense, to always build upon a dry and sturdy foundation. But I had to give that up. Having heard the stories of the water coming in every Spring as the river rose, and then flowing back out again with apparently no ill effects. I had to learn to go with the flow and believe instead that somehow we could work it all out. A huge lesson learned about trust and community.
She did have her sense of humor! There was this hallway between the kitchen and the dining room and everybody that worked there found that whenever walking from the dining room to the kitchen (and vice versa) to get something, more times than not, they had to go back to the dining room to pick up their bubble as we called it to remember what it was they were going into the kitchen for.
Somehow in that hallway, our memory was sucked out of our heads. This was such a joke and such a problem that I took to writing down a list to carry with me into the other room, such was the power of I the double doorways.
Last week, I stopped in to say goodbye. It might have been nice to have a little ceremony, but there didn’t seem to be time for that, so I did my own version. I went from room to room and remembered all the good things that happened in that place.
There was the kitchen, where the the sunlight streamed in the window and shined onto the work table where we baked countless scones and cried buckets of tears over the onions we were chopping.
Memories of roast chicken and walleye and caramel rolls and chocolate chip cookies and Swedish pancakes cooked on that well worn range. hmmm.
And the Roaster Room where Brad and I ate many dinners perched at the coffee roaster and the bar where Marcus stirred up his sake version of Margaritas and Manhattan’s and entertained us after hours with a spontaneous version of Figaro.
The Dining room with memories of music like the first time Becky Schlegel showed up with my old schoolmate Gordy Johnson and blew us away with her sweet voice and her unexpectedly funny comments. The bus bearing Simple Gifts and Billy McLaughlin who transformed the tiny stage into a winter wonderland that held us in a world of magic for a couple hours each Christmas season. Memories of our House band led by Al Sterner, eventually joined by Shari Zimmerman who shyly sang her first songs. I thought about the last time she sang on that stage, belting out her rendition of Crazy.
The Saturday Jam, the New Year’s Eve’s, the Table of Knowledge. Well, there’s 10 years worth of memories and stories……..
Not knowing how to gather all the good juju, as Mitch would call it, I just breathed it in and blew it into a bottle and put on the top and now they sit on the shelf in my office ...and in our hearts, waiting to be let loose in a new home.
When I saw what a threat the river was, I knew that my job would be to move Three Crows to higher ground and eventually pass it on. I still think that.
I wish you a satisfying Thanksgiving spent with people you love, memories of good times past and with hope for the future.
P.S. Ghosts of Three Crows Past and the Joys of the Present. Mark your calendars! In just a little over a week it will be the Old Fashioned Christmas in downtown Delano on December 6. It starts at 10 AM and there are many things to see and do for the whole family. Three Crows will be in the Total Commitment Living Buidling (by the post office) selling coffee beans and best of all, we are sponsoring an evening music event at the Heritage Center. Al Sterner and Shari Zimmerman, Marcus Hanson and many friends will be there to take the stage from 6-9 PM. You can bring a beverage of choice (yes wine or beer are fine) and there will be pizza for sale. The Tree Lighting will be taking place at 7 PM that night.