Again it’s Sunday morning
in the City of the Rose
Time for leisurely brunches
in business casual clothes
A time for eggs and bacon
A time for Bloody Mary,
Good times for even those who
don’t eat wheat or dairy.
Couples riding bicycles
to their favorite brunching spot
where the mimosas are so cold
but the cakes are always hot.
But today was quite unusual
in the winter of the year
For snow and ice had fall’n
and the roads had not been cleared
A blanket of chilly white
had covered all the trees
and legend tells the grounded snow
went halfway to your knees.
And from this stage we see
our heroes Connie and Ted,
a couple married fifteen years
with grey atop their heads.
For fifteen years each Sunday
through rain, wind, and hail,
they went to brunch at 10 am,
precisely without fail.
It was their weekly ritual,
much more than a routine
for Ted to have his biscuits
and gravy from a tureen.
And Connie would peruse
upon the specials board
to find the intermittent dish
that would meet with her accord.
Last week it was lemon cakes
served with hash-ed brown
And both of them had coffee,
strong and black, to wash it down.
They wanted to go back there,
where the chef served with such skill
but that warm and lovely bistro
lay three blocks up the hill
They gazed out the frosted window,
in their woolen sweaters warm
and wondered if their brunching streak
would be broken by this storm
“Look at it out there,” said Connie,
with a voice full of concern,
“I don’t think we should go today,
but next week we’ll return”
“Utter nonsense,” said Ted,
“It’s just a little snow.
Why, I used to see this all the time
for I’m from O-hi-o.”
“That’s true,” said Connie,
with her tone of complete reason,
“But that was twenty years ago
when you could drive in the freezin’.”
“Let’s stay in,” she said,
“I’ll make brunch on the stove.
“Maybe a golden stack of pancakes
with orange-rind zest and clove.”
Ted listened to his wife’s pleading
and smiled a little smile,
“Dear, you’re quite exaggerating,
it’s not even half a mile.”
“Besides, my love, we
haven’t cooked in so very long.
The ingredients in the kitchen
are both tragic and quite wrong.
Twas true, what Ted said,
much to Con’s chagrin.
You cannot make a pancake
with black olives and sloe gin.
So toward the car they trudged
double bundled for the weather,
and slid inside the Fiat 500
they owned jointly together.
The car started sprightly,
an engine roaring fine,
and Ted cautiously shifted gears
down to the orange “R” line.
But reverse, on ice, is tricky,
and Ted took it very slow,
so slow, in fact, that some would say,
the Fiat did not go.
“The driveway’s too icy,” Connie said
“We won’t make it to the street.”
But Ted snapped fingers and grinned
with an idea for their feet.
“Remember seven years ago,
when we went east to Vermont?
To meet with college friends from long
ago in the places we used to haunt?”
Connie remembered, “The skis!
We used them but the once!
Cross-country style, I do believe,
and you looked like a dunce.”
“Well, yes,” he said, “Upon those skis,
I did look much unskilled.
But today, my love, for Brunch!
I shall be iron-willed.”
And so he climbed up up up
to the topmost of the shelves
where lived a set of Christmas lights,
plastic Santa and his elves.
Two sets of skis, his and hers
plus matching poles of steel
They adorned them with their will
to have mid-morning meal.
At first they were unsteady,
wobbling, crashing, falling,
but both our heroes straightened out,
because their brunch was calling!
One ski forward, at an angle
with one more ski behind,
inch by inch, foot by foot,
they started out the grind.
Ted had longer legs and skis,
he started out ahead,
but Connie was more skillful
and would soon lead instead.
One block done and behind them,
and halfway up the second,
their palates flush with the promise
of the new tastes which beckoned.
Maybe today it’s a veggie scramble
with onions, kale, and brie
Maybe something heartier, like
Korean waffles with Earl Grey tea.
Their minds wandered on possibilities
as they finished the second block.
But suddenly, without warning,
Ted’s right ski scraped a rock!
He tumbled, tumbled, down the hill,
while Connie could but watch.
as Ted snowballed two whole blocks
and took a steel pole to the crotch.
“Honey, are you OK?” she cried,
“Can you ski, are you able?”
He said, “My darling Connie, go ahead,
and get us a nice table.”
Her mission cast, in determination
she quickened up her pace
for one more half block up the hill
while wind blew in her face.
And with mighty effort, she arose
atop the great hill’s crest,
with a heart quick with hunger
and wheezing from her chest.
Just two doors away the sign
of their little bistro in the snow,
But as she approached closer,
she cried, “Oh, God, No!”
A little note was scotch-taped
to the front door made of glass
and it read “So sorry. Closed today.
Our chef fell on his ass.”
“The ice it was too much, you see,
and the weather cold and bleak.
So for our safety, we have closed.
We’ll see you in a week.”
And Connie looked for other bistros,
dive bars, diners, taverns,
but for brunching, Alberta Street
was as barren as a cavern.
Somewhere, there are waffles,
with butter, sugar, maple.
People drink mimosas,
in pitchers brought to table.
This morning, there is happy brunch
in a less snow-infested town.
But there is no joy in Portland
For Brunch has been closed down.