Neat Café in Burnstown in Renfrew County on the Madawaska River is shamefully known to me as a designer rendition of Tim Hortons or Starbucks Coffee. They produce superlative espresso coffee and always stock something wickedly sweet. The Café is however so much more – dining, entertainment and overnight stays. My beloved friend Jill and I today celebrated the brilliance of this midsummer day by aimlessly poking along the glistening Mississippi River nearby the Village of Pakenham to the hinterland. We were set upon reacquainting ourselves with the diverse pleasures of rural Lanark County and neighbouring environs. We were not disappointed.
When we arrived at Neat Café we were able to secure an ideal corner table on the outdoor wooden patio beneath the shade of the adjoining trees. Jill pointedly commented how topical is shade. She always says the right thing. Fortuitously Mark Enright (the owner/business associate whom we have met before) materialized at table and generously engaged with us in idle chatter and reminiscences. He is a gregarious sort and a man with a heart. Mark’s daughter (who turns out to have been our exceedingly capable server) augmented the domestic angle. To her credit, and to the exemplification of her father, she is unquestionably a chip off the block!
Jill and I have a notable but perhaps less than commendable history of indulgence. I would not however have imagined the peculiar honeypot we achieved today; namely, bird feeders. We have already plotted the fabric of our next mid-afternoon retail outing.
I nonetheless shared with Jill as we drifted silently homeward along the wending back country roads, the prospect of cultivating intelligence of Cardinals, Blue Jays, Chickadees and Goldfinches isn’t something about which I would normally enthuse. But having now the requisite balcony overlooking the nearby meadow, the exotic application seems unusually propitious. I recounted to Jill my childhood recollection of our neighbour Dr. Cox on Edmunds St NW, Washington DC. He once illustrated to me on the patio overlooking his flouishing back yard how he feeds peanuts to Cardinals from the cup of his hand. I have forever been envious of the talent! In addition the eventuality of birds and a bird feeder promises huge oppportunity for photographic activity. This naturally would envelop my already burgeoning devotion to the meadow and the river. All this in summary is a poignant reminder that the current view before my eyes oozes with appeal. It is a contentious corollary of travel that one is eventually drawn to the very place whence one began (albeit an admittedly tiresome myth of mine). I do nonetheless persist to keep myself open to the acclamation of our own back yard.