"Well, just part of our local color. He's purple."

-Lorelai Gilmore

One of my top five favorite things to do is to escape to the Delta--the Sacramento Delta, that is.  It became my second home when I attended high school there [years ago], and continues to recharge my batteries when I visit.  Although it is only a short fifteen minute drive down the River Road to get into the heart of the Delta, I still treat every visit like a mini-vacay. 

Today, I was fortunate enough to spend some solo time there.  While driving back to Sac from a business meeting in Stockton, the interstate abruptly became a parking lot due to some highway construction.  I seized the opportunity to explore an alternative route back to work.  I exited the interstate, followed some signs, and before I was conscious of what I was doing exactly, I had pulled over in the town of Walnut Grove.  I recognized the name of the building next to where I had parked;  it was Alma's River Cafe, a place I had eaten at with my Delta friends a time or two before. 

 I walked in, took a seat at the bar, grabbed the newspaper and a menu, and ordered a cup of coffee.  Since that was all I had in my system all day, I ordered pancakes and eggs for something substantial--not something one would think would elicit so much attention...

While waiting for my food, a few regulars feathered in every couple of minutes, each one parking at his habitual stool or table.  The woman running the place knew each man's drink of choice, which in 4 out of 5 cases was iced tea with lemon.  Two men ordered their routine hot pastrami sandwiches; another two simultaneously grumbled over the woman's announcement that she was "out of chili."  I was nestled in my own fantastical version of Stars Hollow.  {I don't believe I've ever mentioned my obsession with Gilmore Girls to you readers.} 

I practically inhaled my blueberry pancakes when they arrived, only taking a short break to slather more butter and syrup over top.  "I don't think I like that young gal down at the end of the bar," I heard a man tell another patron, over my left shoulder.  I turned and smiled;  "Me? You don't even know me," I said sweetly.  He replied, "Just the way yer devourin' those pancakes there.  Just 'cause you can.  My doctor says I can't eat any flour;  no potatoes, no pancakes, nothin'."  "Well, then, hate your doctor, not me," I replied.  That made everyone in the place laugh.  'glad they got the joke.  I took a sec to text my best Delta friend "A" to let her know I was eating lunch in her neck o' the woods.  She replied that if I had only been there two hours prior, her dad would have paid for my coffee...he eats there daily.  That's the kind of joint this is. 

Later, I assisted an older couple when they found themselves stuck in their crossword puzzle.  I had overheard the woman ask her husband, a few minutes before my food had arrived, "you know, the big whale fish?"  He replied, "o-r-c-a."  :)  This time the husband had taken over the puzzle, and was asking for the capital of Alaska.  Several patrons were debating over Anchorage or Juneau.  No one had established the correct answer, so a few minutes later, when conversation in the place had lulled, I asked, "did you get Juneau?"  He said he didn't know how to spell it.  "J-u-n-e-a-u" I offered.  "Yeah! That works! Thanks," he smiled while bouncing from box to box with his pen.  The banter continued among the patrons.  I was right at home.  

I finished my plate, paid my bill, and before I left, snapped a shot of the view from the cafe.

It was difficult to drive away, but I took comfort in remembering I would be back in the Delta a month from now for the annual Courtland Pear Fair.

Where, besides your residence, do you call home?                

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