Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Fremont Cafe

The Fremont Cafe

     For me, childhood memories are like "secret friends" that I can call on without anyone knowing they are there.
     One of my favorite and somewhat humorous memories was our summer trip up to "Grandma Mac's Cottage." My every waking moment was consumed with our stop at the "Fremont Cafe-our half-way point to Grandma Mac's Cottage. Fremont, Wisconsin was and still is a quaint, little slice of small town Americana: A one-pump gas station and part-time repair shop; A Rexall drugstore; the Fremont Cafe; and a handful of houses dotting the main street on each side.
    The intensity of the journey began for me as we turned the corner passing the one-pump gas station, and pulled up in front of the Rexall drugstore. Ahhhhh..... the Rexall drugstore. It was like the appetizer before the "big meal." The moment my foot hit the threshold, the distinct, soothing smell transported me to another world. I would run over to the comic book rack and stand mesmerized by the rows and rows of comic books. My favorites stood out like a sore thumb, Superman, Batman, The Flash, Green Lantern.
     Now, I thought that I was in heaven in the Rexall drugstore, but boy, was I wrong. A few short steps away from where I was standing was the ultimate, one-of-a-kind, A number-one, the main event, "The Fremont Cafe." Be still my heart. As I opened the dilapidated screen door, it hit me! A delightfully euphoric combination of smells: Pancakes cooking on the griddle; sausages frying in the skillet; and the aroma of maple syrup wafting through the air.Our waitress, who doubled as the cashier, seated us at a square table with high-back, booth-type seats. As I looked at the menu, my eyes were always drawn to that something special-pancakes. Year in and Year out, it was always the same for me, one cake and a glass of o.j. You know, some pancakes are just shrimpy three-stacks with a little butter and imitation syrup, but this cake covered the whole plate!
     It would never fail. When that pancake reached our table, bells and whistles would go off in my head and my eyes would become as wide as tractor tires. I slathered it with fresh, creamy butter and poured "real" maple syrup around and around on the top until that cake was saturated. Every buttery bite was like water to a parched man. I savored every morsel until my plate was wiped clean. I jumped into my dad's old, "57 Merc" and off we went to Grandma Mac's Cottage. At forty-five miles an hour, I had plenty of time to ponder the delightful meal at "The Fremont Cafe."