Thursday, October 19, 2006
Today I'm in mourning, a little, for the Hardware Cafe of my past. My husband saw the post on the KC Development and Skyscrapers Forum this morning and called to tell me the bad news that they have closed. I've felt a little sad all day.
I first ate at the Hardware Cafe when I visited Liberty during my senior year in high school. I had lunch there with my Mom - a chicken puff pastry that was as comforting as it was delicious. As easily swayed as I am by pastry, it may be that lunch that made my college choice for me.
When I was a senior in college, I worked at the Hardware Cafe. At the time it was owned by Charles Small and it was staffed by people who became my family. I worked first as a hostess, then as a waitress on both the lunch and dinner shifts. I worked special events, helped prep food, and even staffed the soda fountain when needed. I was there early in the morning when the pies were baking and I loved walking out the door at the very end of the night, onto an eerily quiet and empty Liberty square before heading back to my apartment to write papers or avoid writing papers.
I loved carrying the giant dessert tray and having to recite all the pies to every single table during my shift, even after I dropped an entire tray of pies all over myself during a particularly clumsy day. At the Hardware Cafe I learned about the deliciousness of a Robert Redford and how much the elderly love salmon cakes. I got to have non-academic conversations with people who didn't care what I thought about William Faulkner's Yoknapatawpha County or what my GPA was. I haven't set foot in the place since I quit my job there more than nine years ago, but I'm sad that now I can't.