Friday, October 27, 2006

Overheard at Chipperfields ... Part L ...

There was a group of regulars sitting at the corner table by the juke box, the air was filled with John Denver singing “Thank God I’m a Country Boy …” toes were tapping in time to the music. J—approached the table with a coffee in hand.

“So, what are you boys up to today?” J—asked as he pulled out the chair and sat down, “having a cup of Java and a little something?”

The heads of those around the table nodded in assent, as they indicated the assortment of cinnamon buns, cookies and slices of cake were scattered across the table.

“We’ve just been enjoying the fresh baking here,” said one of the regulars waving his finger at the slice of carrot cake in front of him, “it’s one of the highlights of coming to Chipperfields you know?”

“Oh I know,” said J--, “I’m kind of partial to the cheese cakes myself.”

A smattering of laughter passed around the table.

“I like the Chipperdoodle cookies,” observed another regular, “though the chipperdoodle biscotti they had a while back was good too.”

Heads nodded in agreement. “I wonder if that will come back?” asked one of the regulars, “or the Pumpkin Spice cheese cake. That was the best.” Again head nodded in agreement.

“Well, the baking here sure beats the baking at the chains doesn’t it?” asked J--.

“How can it not?” asked one of the regulars in a rhetorical way, “I was just reading in the paper about the new distribution centre that Timmy’s has built to handle the frozen baked goods they are distributing to their stores across the country.” He opened the paper and laid in amongst the plates and mugs, indicating the story about the new way of doing business for one of the national chains.

“Whatcha talking about?” asked The Rev, as he approached the table.

“Fresh baked goods and coffee shops,” observed J--.

“Oh you been reading the article in today’s paper too?” observed The Rev, “It’s a shame really. When I was in University one of the highlights of late night visits to places like Timmy’s was getting there just as they pulled a batch of donuts out of the oven and getting them while they were still hot.”

“Hmmmm,” echoed a couple of regulars in agreement.

“Fresh donuts were great,” noted J--, “you can’t beat oven fresh ANY-thing.”

“That’s what makes this place so good,” observed The Rev, “you can get oven fresh baking, and it’s all homemade. Not a frozen mass produced donut in the bunch.”

“Like the infamous Triple Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookie eh?” observed J--.

“Oh yeah,” observed one of the regulars, “now THAT’S a cookie.”

“Especially when it’s hot,” noted J--, “and, it’s almost orgasmic right out of the oven.”

A smattering of laughter circled the table once again.

“Oh let’s not get started on THAT,” commented The Rev.

The regulars all laughed and J—just smiled as he spoke, “Oh the stories we could tell about that cookie …”

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Overheard at Chipperfields ... Part XLIX ...

Ross was sitting at the table in front of the jukebox. Spread across the table before him was a number of cardboard cup insulators with a variety of business and organization symbols printed on them. Ross was idly browsing through the cardboard insulators as J--, and one of the regulars approached the table.

“What are you up to today?” asked the regular.

“Abandoning the stay-cation idea?” asked J--, as he sat down putting his coffee mug in the midst of the insulator sleeves.

“Oh no,” answered Ross, gathering up some of the stray bits of cardboard and making room for the newcomers to the table, “I’m still doing the Stay-cation idea, but it has to wait.”

“What’s this ?” asked J--, his hand moving the insulators around a bit, “the second chapter of the cup lid plug fiasco.”

“That would have worked if the prices weren’t so unreasonable,” replied Ross, his face looking stern, “imagine expecting you to place a minimum order of 120 000 lid plugs …” He paused before continuing, “do you know how long it would take to sell 120 000 cups of coffee?”

“So, what’s this all about then?” asked J--, still flipping through the pile of coffee cup insulators.

“Well,” Ross returned his attention to the cardboard bits lying in front of him, “I was on a longish business trip this week and everywhere I went they had one of these on the coffee cups. And each one is different.”

“Where you going with this?” asked the regular, “you gonna start making your own?”

“Or are you gonna order a couple hundred thousand of them?” asked J—with a laugh.

“Well, not quite,” answered Ross, leaning into the table slightly, “I got thinking …”

“Oh oh,” said J--, taking a sip from his coffee, “that’s never good.”
“Thanks,” scoffed Ross with a smirk, “but what I thought was this: if we put these sleeves on our cups of take out coffee we could advertise ourselves on them, AND we could sell the other side to other businesses in town, or groups.”

“Like?” asked J—skeptically.

“Well, take for example the Big Brothers and Big Sisters,” answered Ross, “they could buy space on 500 of these sleeves. Or the bowling alley could buy a space on 1000 of them. Or the town could by a couple thousand.”

“Where would you get them printed?” asked J--, still very skeptical, “or do you have to order a couple hundred thousand like the plugs?”

“Well,” answered Ross, “I found a place that will do up small batches, and I’ve talked to the local computer shop and he assures me that we could run them through the printer in the office a few at a time to do the advertising bit.”

“Huh?” scoffed J--, looking less skeptical, “sounds like this one might actually work.”

“Amazing,” added the regular.

“Frightening,” laughed J--, “Ross coming up with an idea that may work and that may actually be practical. Who’da thunk it?”

“Ha ha,” said Ross, “laugh if you will. But sooner or later one of my ideas will pay off and I’ll be like …” Ross paused.

“Like …??” asked J--.

“Like …” Ross paused again, “I’m trying to come with an example of some little invention that made it big.”

“Like the pet rock?” asked the regular. J-- glanced at him as he lifted an eyebrow.

“Pet rock?” said J--, “how did you jump from coffee cup sleeves to pet rocks?”
“I dunno,” answered the regular, “I was just trying to come up with an example of something little that made it big, and the pet rock was the only thing I could come up with …”

J—and Ross both laughed.

“Okay, so I might hit on an idea that will make me as famous as the guy who came up with the Pet Rock,” laughed Ross, “what was his name anyway?”

“Good luck,” said J—as he stood up and headed to the counter for a refill, “I think you both need to get a new hobby …”

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Overheard at Chipperfields ... Part XLVIII ...

“The nice thing about chain coffee shops is that no matter where you go to visit on, you know exactly what is on the menu,” observed J--. “you walk in the door and you can order your double double, and whatever kind of munchie you feel like. They are the same whether you in Victoria or St John’s or any point in between. It’s kind of comfortable.”

“Yeah, but what about the benefits of variety,” answered Ross, “do you really want to go to the Okanagan in BC and not have fresh apples in your baking?”

“Or do you want to go to southern Ontario in the spring and not have maple syrup?” asked one of the regulars sitting at the table with J—and Ross, “there is something to be said about the little mom and pop operations that reflect the town that they sit in.”

“True enough,” observed J--, “it is true that you can’t visit Chipperfields’ anywhere but MInnedosa, and the baking here is top notch …”

“Don’t put a ‘But’ in that sentence,” interrupted Ross, “if you say ‘BUT’ you’ll be taking a run at the lovely baking and ambience that makes this place so special.”

“You’re biased,” observed the regular smiling, “you’re too close to the owner.”

“That may be true,” said Ross, smirking “but would you really want to come to Chipperfields for a double, double and a maple dipped?”

“I’m not saying that,” laughed J--, “what I meant was, when you’re traveling long distances, it’s nice to be able to roll into a place and find the washrooms without too much difficulty, and God knows that at my age that’s important …”

“When I’m driving for work, it’s important to me too,” interrupted Ross, “and I’m a lot younger then you.”

“But it’s the ability to step up to the counter and say – ‘Coffee, and a muffin, or a particular donut or whatever …’” observed J--, “you don’t have to stand muddling around figuring out what you want. You JUST know … the menu is the same if you’re in Calgary, or Brandon or Kenora.”

“I still like the places like this that reflect the town in which they sit,” observed the regular.

“Me too,” said Ross, “I’ve been to many places and I’ve drank many cups of coffee, both good and bad, and I’d sooner have a bad cup of coffee in a funky little out of the way cafĂ©, then a ‘good’, and I use that term loosely, cup in a chain anywhere.”

“Oh I agree,” said J--, “when I went out west, I had to get my coffee at the local chain outlet and it wasn’t nearly as nice as this place.”

“Is there anywhere as nice as here?” asked the regular.

“Absolutely not,” observed J--, “this place is one of a kind. Often imitated, but never replicated …”

Ross turned and looked at the counter, “Hey Jay-Dee,” he called, “can J—have decaf on his next refill? He’s waxing poetic again …”

“Thanks Ross,” laughed J--, “you’re always looking out for me. That’s why this place is home.”

"And like Dorothy said: There's no place like home ..." added Ross.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

J--'s Trivia 'n' Tidbits ... Part 8 ...

“Do you know that a zoo in Alaska just spent 150 000 dollars to build a tread mill for their male elephant to exercise on?” J--, asked as he approached the table, a coffee in hand and newspaper tucked under his arm.

“That So?” offered one of the regulars sitting there.

“Absolutely,” answered J-- as he sat down, “and you know how many times he uses it?”

“Nope,” answered the second regular sitting there, “how many times?”

“He’s yet to use it,” replied J-- laughing, “the poor thing has yet to set foot on the silly thing.”

“Sounds like tax dollars hard at work if you ask me,” offered the first regular.

“Not only that, but I also read that since the year 2000 the US government has given out over 1.3 BILLION dollars in farm subsidies,” J—said, “and NOT a dime of it has gone to people who actually farm?”

“You serious,” gasped an incredulous regular, “1.3 Billion.”

“With a B,” asked the second regular, "Billion with a B."

“With a B,” replied J--, nodding in agreement, “1.3 BILLION US dollars. That’s over 2.5 Billion Canadian dollars.”

“And not a dime to a real farmer?” continued the wowed first regular.

“Not a dime,” observed J--.

“No wonder the Canadian farmers are having such a hard time,” observed the second regular with a low whisper, “with the low commodity prices and the subsidies it’s a wonder that there are farmers any more at all.”

“That and the big corporations putting the screws to the farmers too,” observed the first regular, “they can’t get what the stuff is worth, and all the profits just go to the big corporations any way …”

“Hi Guys, what’s up?” said Ross as he approached the table and sat down at the empty seat with them.

“Oh we’re just having a conversation about the evil super corporations that control the distribution of food,” said J--, “and he was just about to share his opinions about these companies and how they’re oppressing the farm families across Canada.”

“Oh really,” said Ross, an uneasy smile crossing his face.

“Oh yeah,” replied J—smiling.

The first regular wounded up continued unabated, “These big companies continue to impoverish our producers by paying less and less, while expecting the quality to remain exceptionally high. Meanwhile, as the profits end up in the hands of the corporations, the other countries continue to pour huge subsidies into the pockets of their farmers …”

“Gee, would you look at the time,” Ross covered the corporate logo on his shirt with his right hand as he glanced at his watch on his left wrist, “I gotta go.”

As Ross stood and tried to scurry back behind the counter, J—laughed, Ross paused.

“Nice one,” J—smirked, “you DO know who Ross works for don’t you?”

“Hey it was nothing personal,” observed the first regular as he picked up his coffee and smiled before continuing his rant, “Besides that, the big issue I have around here is ‘why there isn’t more Fair Trade product available here?’ or ‘Why isn’t there a Fair Trade selection on the menu? And ‘Why don’t you have more Fair Trade stuff for sale around here?’”

“That’s Bonnie’s department,” said Ross with a smirk, “take it up with her.”

“And don’t forget The Rev,” observed J--, “he’s into all things Fair Trade and Justice oriented.”

“Yeah, take it up with either of them,” stated Ross as he lifted his mug to sip his coffee.
“Or talk to the hand,” said J--, holding his hand up in front of him.

The four of them began to laugh.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Tales from The Rev on the Road ...

Dear Bonnie and Chipperfields:

I have said it before - but it is worth repeating:

I miss you all when I'm NOT in Minnedosa. And this week has just underscored that sentiment and put and exclamation point on the sentence.

I have missed having a good cup of coffee and a decent conversation and a few laughs since I left on Tuesday ... actually, because you were closed on Monday for Thanksgiving, it has been since Sunday - though the coffee I picked up to go was wonderful ... but it only held me to ... OH Gladstone !!!

Then it was coffee from Tim's and whatever gas station I could find along the way ... YUCK !!!!

But somehow, despite the odds, I've survived ... and yesterday I discovered a lovely, very funky coffee shop on the main street of Stratford. Their coffee is okay ... the ambience is lovely ... but it is too busy ... too loud and it simply is NOT Chipperfield Coffee Company. But it will due while I'm here ... The fact they have Wi-Fi internet access helps ... I can tolerate mediocre coffee if I can cruise the net ...

So ... all of this is to say ... I miss you all. I don't know if you miss me - likely not ... but that's okay ... I miss hanging out at Chipperfield's ... it's a good place, and I come to appreciate that more and more when I'm away.

Thanks for providing Minnedosa with a lovely little place to get refreshments, to build friendships and to just hang out ... we're lucky to have you ... and we need to just say - Thanks, a little more often.

It's places like Chipperfield's that makes life in a small town so wonderful ...

see you soon,
The Rev.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Overheard at Chipperfields' ... Part XLVII ...

Ross was sitting in the corner reading the latest Winnipeg paper when a couple of regulars came in ordered their coffees and sat down with him. In the shop, the crowd was fairly busy for a week night ... out the window, the sun was setting ...

"Interesting story in there about the traffic that is being forced through Portage eh?" said one of the regulars pointing to the paper.

"I stopped in at the coffee place by the mall on the west side there," the other regular offer, only to be cut off by Ross who lowered the paper.

"Really?" said Ross his eyebrows raised.

"I needed a coffee," said the second regular, "and last time I checked there wasn't a Chipperfields outlet in Portage."

"True enough," said Ross folding the newspaper and setting it aside.

"Besides, it was so darned busy," said the regular, "that I couldn't even use the washroom, and I wasn't about to wait for any of THEIR coffee."

"When I stopped in there yesterday, the washroom was out of order," said the first regular, "and I wouldn't drink their coffee if it was the last beverage on the planet."

"You can stop now," said Ross smiling, "I know you're loyal customers."

"Well, my point wasn't so much the locale, as it was the volume," said the second regular.

"What do you mean?" said Ross, looking perplexed.

"Well, ordinarily when you stop in the place is kind of busy," said the second regular, "but this week with the by-pass around Portage closed and all the traffic going through town the place is jammed. The whole town is busy."

"It's kinda like the last scene in the kids' movie Cars," said the first regular. Then when his companion's raised their eyebrows at him he added, "I went with my grandkids in the spring. It was a pretty good movie."

"But what was the last scene?" asked Ross, "I haven't seen it."

"Oh that," said the first regular, "I thought you were criticizing my choice of movies."

"We were," said Ross, "but we still want to know about the movie."

"Ha Ha," laughed the second regular, as he paused to sip his coffee, "well in the final part of the movie the little town where all the cars are, and where the lead character ends up gets back ont the map and traffic starts coming back through the town."

"Back through?" asked Ross..

"Yeah," said the regular, "when they built the four lane highway, it by-passed the town and the town started to die. But then the main character; a racing car; made the town home and tourists started to come and pretty soon the place was hopping, and they even build an exchange to bring the traffic off the highway into the little town."

"Kinda like Portage," observed the first regular.

"Except, it was fears of the overpass collapsing that has brought the traffic through town," said Ross.

"Yeah, but the people are stopping," said the second regular, "and even if it is for a coffee and muffin, or a burger, it's money that wasn't there in the town before."

"Too bad we couldn't get people to detour through Minnedosa and stop here for awhile," observed the first regular.

"It would be good for business," observed Ross, "if we could get some of the traffic off the highways that pass by here, it would be good for all the businesses in town."

"Yeah," said the second regular,"everyone stops in Neepawa because they pass right through the town, but here, we're tucked in off the highway and people tend to just blow by and not realize what a beautiful community it is."

"There's pluses and minuses to that," observed the first regular, "keeps the riff-raff away."

"Yeah, but with more vacancies on Main St," stated Ross flatly, "we need to consider doing something to pull some of the traffic off the highway and run it through town."

"Maybe we should park some farm equipment across the highways," mused the second regular.

"Beats blowing up a bridge," said the first regular as he picked up his coffee.

"What?" said Ross, looking shocked.

"Just making an observation," said the first regular shrugging his shoulders, "it would be easier to park a combine at the turnoff rather then blowing up the bridge out by Agri-core."

"Something we should know?" pressed the second regular, looking very worried.

"Nay," said the first regular, then chaning the subject observed, "you do serve a fine cup of coffee here ..."

Neither Ross nor the second regular said anything, but stared at their companion with a mix of horror and amusement.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Overheard at Chipperfields' ... Part XLVI ...

It was a quiet night in the shop. Ross was sitting in the corner looking through the cardboard box on the table in front of him. It was marked "lost and found." On his head was a knitted rainbow striped ear flap hat.

Ross was so intent on searching in the box he failed to notice The Rev and one of the other regulars until they both sat down at the table with him.

"Lose something?" asked the regular.

"I like the new look," commented The Rev as he sipped his coffee.

"Huh?" said Ross, looking up with a perplexed look on his face, then his eyes looked up wards as he remembered the hat on his head, "OH, this ..." he reached up and removed the cap as he continued speaking, "I just tried it on ..."

"Don't take it off," said The Rev, a slight smile curling the sides of his mouth, "I think it makes you look good ..."

"Reason enough to take it off," said Ross, looking embarassed.

"So, what are you doing in the lost and found bin?" asked the regular.

"Oh just looking to see if there is anything there that we can return to the rightful owner," commented Ross, "do you realize the things people leave behind?"

He paused as he dug through the bin once again, "I mean, there are hats, gloves, mittens, scarves and paper back books ..." He dug a little deeper, "There is SO much stuff in here. You just name something and I'll bet you that it is likely in here ..."

"Like your sanity?" said The Rev softly.

"Yup, it's likely in here somewhere," answered Ross, clearly not listening ... the snort of both the regular and The Rev drew his attention, "Hey, I heard that ..."

"Too late," said the regular, as he and The Rev continued laughing, "you're busted."

"The voices been telling you to put on weird hats again Ross?" asked The Rev, "or just telling you that we're all against your again?"

"No nothing like that," answered Ross with mocking seriousness, "the voices keep telling me to do crazy stuff like sell stay-cation kits and order special coffee lid plugs for the collectors' market ... but they don't tell me that you're against me ... mind you they don't tell me you're for me either ..."

"Okay," saidThe Rev, his eyebrows rising slightly, "you stick with that ..." He then laughed, "and have fun."

"Absolutely," said Ross, "if it's not fun, then I'm doing it wrong ..."

"So, WHY are you digging around in the lost and found and wearing the goofy hats you find in there," The Rev asked changing the subject slightly, as his hand motioned to the ear flap hat still sitting on the table, "I thought you'd be busy restocking the juke box."

"Oh I picked up a ball cap that was left here earlier, and when I tossed it in the box, I just noticed how full it was ..." Ross paused for a moment, "and one thing lead to another and I just started looking through it ..." Ross' voice trialed off as his hands rested on the side of the box.

"The lost and found box is a good metaphor for life," commented on The Rev.

"How so?" asked the regular.

"Well, we kinda plod along through our days and periodically we leave something behind," The Rev said, "someone may pick it up and claim it themselves, or they may take it to a Lost and Found box somewhere and drop it in. If we notice we've lost it, something that isn't always assured. We might come back and look for it."

"And reclaim it?" offered Ross, his hands still resting on the sides of the box.

"Not necessarily," replied The Rev, "that's the strength of the metaphor. Sometimes it's not worth turning back to claim it. It might be too far, we might have too many places to look. We may not even be sure where we lost it. So we just move on." The Rev paused to sip his coffee before continuing, "But other times we come back and as we start to look for what we thought we lost we find other things that we've misplaced along the way, or we realize that we are actually missing other things ..."

"The digging around triggers something?" asked the the regular.

"Precisely," answered The Rev., "or we may even find something in the box that we like better and if it isn't claimed after awhile we can claim it for our selves ..."

"I think you better start cutting back on the coffee there Rev," said the regular, not sure of what else to offer.

Silence descended on the table ... Ross picked up the rainbow hat and returned it to his head. The Rev and the regular noted the action but for a long moment said nothing.

"You know Ross," said the regular, "If you look hard enough you may actually find the mind that you seem to have lost ..."

"Yeah," commented The Rev, "you may even realize how much you miss it ..."

Ross was about to speak as Bonnie cruised out of the back room and noted him sitting at the table with the hat on his head, as Ross opened his mouth it was Bonnie's voice that broke through: "What in God's name are you doing Ross?"

Ross looked at her. Looked at the two sitting at the table, and as they burst out laughing he removed the hat and put it back in the lost and found bin, which in turn he picked up and began to carry back to it usual place near the front door. As he moved he said simply, "Nothing dear ..."

In the background The Rev and the regular were howling with laughter.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Welcome Home ...

Welcome Home Scott Collen.

From everyone at

Chipperfield Coffee Company.

And to our troops


and at home:


Thursday, October 05, 2006

J--'s Trivia 'n' Tidbits ... Part 7 ...

"Did you know that there are very few good jokes about musicians and musical intruments?" J-- asked as he approached the table, a coffee in one hand, and a sheaf of computer paper in the other.

"That so?" answered one of the two men sitting there.

"Absolutely," replied J--, as he sat down and spread out the paper on the table in front of him, "I need to give a toast at an anniversary party for an old friend who plays saxophone. So I went out on the internet and I found very few jokes that were any good."

"Well, what were the ones you found like?" asked one of the regulars clearly intrigued.

"Well, there's this one," J-- shuffled the papers before he spoke, "What's the difference between a baritone saxophone and a chain saw?"

"I dunno," answered the other regular.

"The exhaust," replied J--.

"Hmm," replied the first regular, "I get it. I agree with it. But it's not that funny."

"Okay, How about this one?" said J--, "What does a lawsuit and a saxophone have in common?"

"What?" asked the second regular.

"Everyone is happy when the case is closed." answered J--.

"Again. I agree with it. But ..." the first regular paused, "It's not that funny."

"Okay, how about this one?" said J-- again, "What do a saxophone and a baseball have in common?"

"What?" asked the second regular.

"People cheer when you hit them hard with a bat." answered J--.

The first regular supressed a giggle, "okay that one is a bit better. I kind of liked it."

"Yeah, but they're not good toast material," said J--, "I need something better."

"What are you looking for?" asked The Rev, who had come into the store while J-- and the boys were holding court.

"I need a good saxaphone player joke," replied J--.

"Isn't that an oxymoron?" said The Rev, "putting good and saxophone in the same sentence?"

"I thought you like John Coltrane?" replied J-- seriously, "isn't he a good sax player?"

"Beyond good," said The Rev, "but what I meant was ... " he paused, took in the grins of the men around the table and decided not to bother after all, "oh never mind ..."

The Rev took a drink of his coffee and then said, "I have a joke for you about a sax player that you could use."

"Let's hear it," said J-- excitedly.

"Well," The Rev began his story, "There was this Sax player named Stevie who hailed from Syracuse and he got a gig at a resort down in the south Pacific somewhere. So he loaded up all his stuff, bought his ticket and away he went ... The flight was going just fine, then suddenly the pilot came on the intercom and said, 'I'm sorry, but we have an inflight emergency and we're going to have put down in the water ... please prepare for impact ..."

The Rev paused, took a sip of his coffee, then continued, "So, the plane crashes just off the shore of a little tropical island and the Sax player is the only survivor, but he loses his luggage and everything ... and for months and months and months he's stranded on the island. He loses track of the time - he's there for years and years and years."

The Rev paused again before continuing, "So one afternoon he's sitting on the beach as he did day after day watching for ships and airplanes or something, and all of a sudden, he notices a small wake in the water. In another moment an absolutely beautiful young scubadiver rises from the surf. She walks to the man and exclaims, " You must be miserable, how long has it been since you have had a great smoke?"While the deranged man stammered for an answer, the lovely lady unzips the side pocket on her sleeve, and produces a Cuban cigar. She pulls out a lighter and lights it for him ..."

The Rev takes yet another sip of his coffee as he continues, "Then she gazes into the now-smoking man's smiling face and whispers, "and how long has it been since you have had a real drink"? Again the man stammers and shrugs, as she unzips her other sleeve to produce a silver flaske filled with premium Brandy. She uncorks the flask and lets him take a long swig. He smiles as he hands the now almost empty flask back. The "aaaahhhh" of his delight is obvious. Then the young woman begins to tug at the front zipper of her wet suit. 'And how long has it been since you have known real pleasure?' The man scrambles to his feet and yells "Oh dear God don't tell me you have my SAXOPHONE in there ???"

"Hmmm," says J-- his chin in his upturned palm, "that might just work ..." he ponders the joke for a moment, "you say his name is Stevie from Syracuse?"

"Or it could be Barry from Buffalo, or Larry from Los Angeles, or Gary from Glendale flippin' California," said The Rev, laughing, "it doesn't matter where he's from, the point is, if he had a beautiful woman on the island he's more into his music than anything else ..."

"I like it," said J--, "I think I can use it ... thank. It's kind of pathetic though."

"Yeah, well I take no responsibility for the follies of others. But, you're more than welcome to use it for whatever you need," The Rev smiled as he stood up for a refill, "Need a refill anyone?"

Overheard at Chipperfields' ... Part XLV ...

J-- came in and sat at the middle table with a couple of the regulars, as he picked up his coffee and took a sip, he looked around the store. He took note of the Juke Box, and decided it was a good time to pop in a couple of quarters and spin some tunes.

Without saying anything to his companions at the table, he got up and strolled across to the Juke Box and dropped in a couple of quarters and punched in a series of numbers. The first that warbled out of the speakers was "King of the Road," followed by an old Patsy Cline number, the John Denver singing, "Thanks God I'm a country boy". Jim smiled as he punched in the last number twice ... then he sat down to enjoy the moment and the music.

He was still grinning when he sat down.

"What did you pick?" asked one of the regulars.

"You'll see," said J-- smiling as he picked up his coffee. The first notes of King of the Road began to play ...

Dani looked up from behind the counter, her head snapping up, "Did you do that?" she glared accusingly at J--.

"Yup?" said J-- lifting his coffee cup in salutation, "but the last one is for you ..."

The three at the table engaged in idle chit chat about mundane things like the weather as Roger, Patsy and John sang on the Juke Box. Then as the 45 of John Denver cut out, J-- spoke - "Okay watch this ..."

As the 45 dropped into place he called out to Jay-Dee and Dani, "Oh girls, the gentlemen here have never seen you dance ..." J-- stood up slightly, "would you be willing to accomodate us?"

Jay-Dee and Dani looked at each other began to laugh as the BeeGees began singing "Grease is the word ..."

"Oh what the heck," said Jay-Dee blushing deeply.

"Okay," laughed Dani, her face equally red.

As the tempo of the music increased Jay-Dee counted out the beat and the two of them began offering their best John Travolta Saturday Night Live imitation behind the counter. With their feet twirling and their arms above their heads and to their side they did a pretty good job staying in synche with one another and the music. J-- and the regulars clapped and laughed along ...

When the song ended they slowed and were about to stop, "Not yet," said J--, "I still have another tune on my quarter ..."

Jay-Dee and Dani erupted in laughter when the same song came through again ... but they were game to keep dancing ...

"Some times you just gotta dance," laughed Jay-Dee as the song started a second time, a broad smile crossing her face.

"Absolutely," agreed J-- laughing along ...

Monday, October 02, 2006

Overheard at Chipperfields' ... Part XLIV ...

Ross was sitting in his usual corner that he occupies when he is re-stocking the Juke Box. This time though, he had spread around him a variety of pamphlets, catalogues, a lap top and a handful of the colourful sticks that the Bonnie has recently brought in to plug the mouth opening on the plastic lids for take out coffees. Ross was engrossed in some new project. The Rev was sitting quietly at the table watching Ross shuffle through the papers spread before him.

"Whatcha up to?" asked J-- as he approached the table.

"Oh just looking into the lid plugs that we've brought in?" replied Ross.

J-- picked up a purple plastic plug and asked, "So are they really called lid plugs?"

"I don't actually know," said Ross, "that's just what I've started calling them. Each supplier has a different name for them."

"Sounds confusing," replied J-- setting the purple plug down and spreading out the handful on the table to admire the colours and shapes, "so what are you up to? Or dare I ask?"

"Well," as Ross started to speak Tracy brought J--'s coffee to the table.

"Need a refill?" Tracy asked Ross, as she set J--'s coffee down.

"No, thanks" replied Ross looking a tad confused, "I think I'm okay."

J-- snorted, "Sure you are" as Tracy turned and returned to the counter, her thick pony tail bouncing as she went.

"Thanks J--," offered Ross with a sly smile, "with friends like you ..."

"Whoa, cowboy," interupted J--, "who said anything about us being friends. Don't say it too loudly around here, "J-- glanced around the busy shop, "people might get the wrong idea."

"Ha ha," mocked Ross, "now as for what I'm doing ..." he paused and picked up one of the lid plugs before continuing, "I got an idea about these things this morning."

J-- lifted his nose in the air and sniffed, "I smell something bad coming ..."

"Hey, this isn't like the stay-cation idea," said Ross glancing nervously about, ensuring Bonnie was no where within ear shot, "but I'm almost ready to launch the Stay-cations ... and mark my words - IT WILL WORK."

"Okay," laughed J-- sipping his coffee, "so what's your new idea?"

"Well, right now we get these little plugs in four colours and in two styles," observed Ross, "and today I got thinking that we're missing a possible collectors' market out there ..."

"Collectors' market?" asked J-- looking dumbfounded, "what kind of collectors' market is there for little plastic tabs you stick in the lid of a coffee cup?"

"Oh you'd be surprised at the crap that people WILL collect," said Ross.

"I wouldn't," said The Rev looking at the antiques and collectibles spread around the shop as he broke his silence, "I wouldn't be surprised at all ..."

The Rev and J-- both laughed as Ross continued.

"My thinking is that we should get in more colours and more styles," Ross' voice was increasing in tempo and momentum, "we could get seasonal styles. Little stockings and candy canes for Christmas, little hearts for St Valentine's Day, little shamrocks for St Patty's day, Pumpkins for Halloween, and even Little coloured eggs for Easter" his finger pointed to a page in one of the catalogues on the table in front of him, "we could do limited edition and time limited styles too." said Ross pausing for a breath.

"Time limited styles?" asked J--

"Yeah, we could advertise that on a particular night you could get a special limited edition lid plug if you come in and get a take out coffee. We could advertise that they are only available for a limited time. Then we could introduce other styles and colours, and keep the hype up so that people want to collect them."

"Like McDonald's and their happy meal toys?" asked The Rev sardonically.

"Exactly," smiled Ross, clearly missing the irony, "we could do special promotions like collect 12 and trade them in for a cookie, or a free coffee or something like that. We could introduce a dozen different colours and dozen different styles and encourage people to 'collect them all', and we could only have certain styles or colours available at certain times and on specific days."

"Really?" J--'s tone was incredulous.

"Really," affirmed Ross, "I'm telling you, if we played this right and did the right kind of advertising and promotion, this could be big. Really big. People ... , especially kids will want these things," to emphasis his point he picked up one of the little plastic plugs and held it aloft before the three of them, "I'm telling you, this could be big. It could get people beating a path to our door, all in search of that one elusive lid plug they need to complete their collection, and just when they think they've got all the styles and colours, we'll introduce some new ones ... this will be big ..." Ross was breathless as he finished speaking.

For a long moment neither J-- or The Rev said anything ... then The Rev broke the silence.

"Ross," The Rev's voice was low and serious, "if I were you I'd just stick to the Stay-cation idea. It has more of a possiblity of success."

"Yeah," agreed J--, "an in the mean time I would seriously consider switching to decaf again ..."

J-- and The Rev laughed as Ross continued to hold the little plastic lid plug aloft ...