Live from the Cafe
Harlandsville, Quebec—look up the definition of small town in a dictionary, and you’ll find its picture.
A one-stoplight village, Harlandsville doesn’t have a lot to offer, or so it seems. Old homes, an abandoned mill, a gas station, one Chinese takeout joint, and a former pub turned into a coffee shop. For the latter, one learns never to judge a book by its cover.
One step through the doors of Le Cafe, and you enter a world where the coffee is brewed one pot at a time through a strange machine, the pastries are homemade, and the music is a roadmap of Canada’s history.
Presided over by Luc, the son of one of Harlandsville’s most loved residents and his partner Emily, the cafe is home to natives and visitors alike. Where the coffee is strong, the spirit of friendship stronger, and occasional strange (and famous?) characters show up to hang out, and play music.
Small-town life, love, change, prejudice, pasts and futures are examined and experienced. The heartbeat of Harlandsville is right here. You never know who’ll show up, or what will happen next, Live from the Cafe...
Meet the Author:
Best Book Bit:
The elderly gentleman sat at the bar, a demitasse cup before him as he paged through a Moleskine notebook. From the corner of her eye, Emily watched this fellow, and his actions.
He had come in later than most travelers, nearly 8 pm. A typical Friday night in Harlandsville was represented here. The lone movie theater had shuttered two years before, and if it wasn’t on TV, people could find what they wanted on the Internet. Others could go out of town for their entertainment.
The late bus had long since come and gone. Back from practice, Mike was behind the bar with Emily. Luc was doing clean-up in the kitchen; Emily liked how the boss gladly did the dirty work.
The tables had a few interesting combinations at them: a couple of guys from the stick factory at one, an older woman seated on the couch reading off her tablet. Laurette was at a third, in close discussion with two Natives, an older man and woman. They did not live in Harlandsville, but were seen in town on occasion.
A stylish foursome, the Freed sisters and their parents had come back from some sort of outing, and were now at one of the tables with Akasha and Shannon. The former had the night off, but was here; Shannon was on her break and they were invited to join the others.
Akasha’s parents were also in on the discussion. Much like Paul and Laurette, Richard and Angelique Cloutier were a mixed marriage. The former, a rugged, dark-haired fellow who’d once been in the Army, Richard was quiet, but easygoing. Angelique, a small, stocky lady was open, friendly, and at times demonstrative. Clearly, Akasha took after her mother.
Khatia approached the bar with two empty cups, and Emily deftly moved down the bar. “Mike, would you?” She asked.
“Oh, sure.” Mike went to serve Khatia and Emily took his place. She reached down to lower the Oscar Peterson live CD on the stereo and looked over her shoulder. Khatia was asking for a refill, but Emily detected that slightly embarrassed look on the girl’s face. Nervous, more like it.
She now turned her attention to the latest stranger. His age was not calculable, but by his walk and manner of speech, the fellow was of another generation, probably his seventies. Silver hair, combed back revealed a high, tanned forehead. His mustache and thin goatee were the same color, and a gold stud resided in the left earlobe. His suit jacket, dark blue rested on the stool beside him; the dress shirt was white, opened to the second button, to reveal a gold cross and some type of medal on the chain round his neck. His clothing was high class, and of a custom cut.
“Another, sir?” Emily watched as the fellow carefully tucked his fountain pen, within the pages of that notebook. Nearly two thirds of those were crinkled, aged by notes, passages, and marks of one color ink, black.
He smiled, two rows of exceptional teeth that were his own. “If you would,” he replied, a voice of some part of the world that wasn’t this one. “Your espresso is most flavorful; it takes me back to a place I left long ago. I was attracted to the scent of your establishment.”
“Really?” Emily liked this guy. She fetched a clean cup, and carefully measured out another doppio via the machine.
“We have heard from visitors that our café has gained a reputation. I wonder what you might have heard?”
The man chuckled. “I have heard many things,” he responded, “so many, in fact, it is hard to keep all of them organized. Especially as I am an old man.”
They shared the laugh. “You are hardly that,” Emily countered. “One is as young as they feel; the age of a person shouldn’t matter.”
“I suppose.” Khatia had collected the refills and was headed back to the table. She again noted how the girls of the Hall and Union schools were close together, and also there was no concern over the parental units being with them. “It is nice to see this,” the gentleman went on, “this is a diverse community. I am gladdened to view others, as I do in my travels.”
Emily served his cup on a saucer. The man delicately took the cup in two gnarled, but strong fingers, raised it to her and sipped. “Excellent. Now, if I may be so bold as to ask the lady a question?”
“What did you dream today?”