I woke up with a need for pancakes yesterday morning. A need, as in, I had to have pancakes as much as I needed to breathe in and out. Has that ever happened to you? I don’t get that feeling often, but when it hits me I put on some pants, grab the car keys and head for the door. Like a robot homing in on a signal from its maker, I don’t have the power to resist the call.

I mentioned my desire to My Darling B, who suggested we go into Waupaca to eat a late breakfast at Cronie’s Cafe, our favorite place in town to grab a bite. It’s a small place, wedged in between Simpson’s and the Rosa Theater – only a counter, maybe a half-dozen booths along the walls and four or five tables in the front window, very cozy. If there’s a better place in town to linger over a cup of coffee, I can’t think of it. That they serve up a dandy plate of pancakes is a bonus.

It was still early enough in the morning that the rest of the crew hadn’t eaten breakfast yet, so I passed the word around and soon enough we were all climbing into our respective cars to start the drive into town. We met Mom there shortly after we arrived, managed to talk the staff into butting two tables together so we wouldn’t have to split up into two booths, ordered our pancakes, sat back with our coffee and waited for the goodies to arrive.

I don’t know why I didn’t think of it before I suggested that the whole crew head into cozy little Cronie’s for breakfast, but it’s a fact they’re not IHOP. A very happy fact, but a hard fact nonetheless. Other than that they serve breakfast, the only way you would compare the two would be to say that Cronie’s is the furthest thing from a fast-food breakfast chain with a kitchen that can turn out eleventy-million pancakes a day. Cronie’s is the anti-IHOP. So it took them a little while to crank out pancakes for eight people, but they did it like champs.

I ordered just two pancakes in spite of my burning need, because I knew the master of the kitchen poured pancakes bigger than my head. To get us our food as soon as possible they brought me and everyone else who ordered pancakes just one cake as a first course. I was finishing up mine when they brought me the second course, and I was starting to feel as though maybe my eyes were bigger than my stomach by then but I tucked into it anyway and finished every bite. Just one person at our table dared to order a stack of three pancakes. He buzzed through the first one like a pack of ravenous wolves and attacked the second and third with conviction, but in the end he was forces to leave the last few bites on his plate. All our sufficiencies were well and truly serensified by the time we got up from the table to return to the cabin.

self control

After lunch at Cronies Cafe yesterday my mom asked me, as we stepped out into the street, “Did you want to visit the book store?”

“Oh, heck yes!” I answered, because, you know, books!

She was referring to Book Cellar, a book store on main street. I stop by every time I visit because it brings a smile to my face to walk into an independent book store and I just don’t get to smile like that often enough any more.

While mom poked through the books I wandered down to their extensive selection of CDs, found the section where they kept the Leo Kottke recordings and somehow, using every fiber of self-control I possessed, kept myself from buying every single one I could find. There were six or seven, but I settled for just two, the armadillo album – the cover says “6- and 12-String Guitar”, kind of a mundane name – and “Standing In My Shoes.”

Felt pretty good about how restrained I was until I got to the checkout counter and my eyes fell on a couple of Nora Jones CDs in the rack right under the register. Dammit! I love Nora Jones! Every time Pandora plays one of her tunes I tell myself I’m going to order one of her albums one of these days. Well, the two I wanted to start with were only six and eight dollars, so I added them to the Kottke disks. So much for self-control.

And I got a book, three bucks.