The roads are dry and I am confident enough to drive to Chibougamau today with only two snow tires (long story).
My plan was to have lunch at Café Brulot and do some shopping. Andy had pointed out the Café on a previous trip into town.
“It’s your kind of food, you know, three chickpeas on a bed of bean sprouts and birdseed bread,” he said.
Just what I needed! I parked my little Subaru between two giant trucks and walked across the street to the Café. I studied the menu selections on the chalkboard and requested a panini, with swiss cheese and spinach.
I also ordered a cappuccino as I was waiting, and found a cosy table by the window and logged into their free WIFI.
The waitress brought my coffee. I had forgotten how creamy frothed milk tastes, and when swirled, the dark bitterness released from underneath. I savoured every spoonsful…
“I’ll have another!” I said, standing up, clattering the chair behind me, pointing at my empty cup.
Looking up from my playbook and cappuccino, I notice a bearded gentleman gazing at the pictures on the walls. I shifted a couple of times, to allow him a better view.
“Vous êtes l’artist?” I ask him, indicating the pictures.
The next thing I knew, we were sitting at the table, side by side, he with this tablet and I with my playbook, exchanging and bookmarking websites.
He showed me his creations in pastel, which I thought were quite wonderful. I have absolutely no artistic ability; however, the pictures were alive, swirling with colour and dimension.
Pierre told me, after we finally introduced ourselves, that he is a retired fine arts teacher, but his wife still works and is a principal at the local school.
An amateur astronomer, he set up an observation dome in the local library, which he insists Andy and I must check out. He gave me his number to call him first so he could have everything ready.
Of course, that started a new wave of excitement, when I told him about my fascination with the northern lights and we continued to swipe and tap our devices. Here is an excellent site that maps aurora borealis activity
Reluctantly my new friend had to leave. He had a funeral to attend. But before he parted, he gave me his website coordinates:
On my way out, I stopped by the counter to pay. I heard a familiar sound … English! Two woman, and a girl of about five, were having coffee.
I stopped by the table and told them how nice it is to hear English.
“Oh, yes, there’s some of us here,” one of the women quipped
Pat and Anne invited me to sit and I sank into the offered chair immediately. The little girl, Mila, was Pat’s granddaughter who will be attending a local English school. This surprized me, as I thought there were only French schools in the area. We chatted for a while about children, grandchildren, distances, and about something they called “Cree time” to describe an easier pace of life than what I was accustomed to in Montreal.
But sadly, I had to go …
On my way to the car, I met Pierre who had just come back from the funeral home. We chat a while longer and exchange business cards and e-mail addresses.
What an absolutely lovely afternoon. I’ve had more conversation today than I have had in months!