Avant-garde at The Wooden Spoon Bistro in Grand Forks, BC

Weaving our way through the hospital we reached the front doors which lead us out into the parking lot and our nearby Tacoma. Her face swelled for the first time in twenty-four hours and tears began dripping off her chin. The uncontrollable tears were finally running rampant as she realized this might be the last time she saw or spoke to her cousin.

We stood locked together in the parking lot my long arms wrapping around her body swallowing her up into my chest has her head turned and each sob became worse than the one it superseded. Her sorrow taking control of her body as we both understood there was nothing either one of us could do for Mel at this point except try to raise everyone’s spirits whenever we were around.

Back in the Tacoma we departed the hospital parking lot and headed back to their home to meet up with Aunt Donna and Uncle Allan. At the house we spoke with Dave, Donna and Allan about Mel’s condition and the last few trips to other larger hospitals in the region. We idly chatted for another fifteen-minutes when Donna asked if we would like to have lunch with them at The Wooden Spoon Bistro. We accepted the invitation as Dave had to take the kids to a school recital.

Into the Tacoma we drove in silence for several minutes while I manoeuvred the back streets until arriving on second street. We spotted the bistro a few streets down, swung a left onto Market Street and yielded right into a diagonal parking spot. Standing outside the truck I said, “Wonder what car they are driving?” And as if a magical wand was tapped into the air a silver Hyundai Kona pulled up a few spaces over from the Tacoma and Donna slid out of the car.

Wait. What? Your car was so sooooo quiet. It creeped into the parking spot! No? Wait, is it electric?” I exclaimed my obvious excitement being exposed all over the downtown sidewalk. She smiled and explained I would have to talk to Allan if I wanted to know more about it as its his new electric vehicle.

Wandering over to The Wooden Spoon Bistro they both idly explained how delightful the menu is and how much they loved coming here. Then they explained the history of this particular location.

“You know it started off as a much smaller venue a few blocks away. And over the last thirteen months its really blossomed into a ‘must dine’ lunch location. Its pretty much a farm to table kind of spot. They have a vast array of breakfast and lunch items. Much of it is Gluten-free too. Which is why we suggested it for today.” We all starred inside as the place was packed full of people sitting at their respective tables enjoying a late lunch.

Allan spotting a table outside on the street walked back outside and laid his jacket over a chair to show that this table was taken by others.

Back inside the four of us idly chatted about the menu and the cold display fridge with its plethora of desserts caught my eyes with all the desert delights one might choose; Nanaimo Bars, Lemon Squares, Cheesecake, Macaroons, Everything Cookie, Dream Bars and oh so much more!

Seeing these treats I knew today had to be a ‘betsu betsu day’ which in Japanese means both people pay for their own meal. Every once in a while we kick it back to the days when we were meager college students living on our own. Today was one of those days and it also meant for me that I could order anything on the menu without fear that someone in the kitchen would be trying to GLUTEN my Celiac wife with our lunch order.

“I’d like an Everything Cookie, Cereal Bar, Iced Turmeric Tea Latte and the Granby Bowl,” I said as the girl in front of me punched keys and tallied up my total. “That’ll be $24.95 and is that to stay or go?” I slapped down the Visa credit card and informed we’d be staying. “You can put us all on the same number,” said Donna butting in from behind me. I smiled at her laughed and nodded my head. Then the girl handed me the cookie and cereal bar as I stepped out of the way to await my coffee beverage.

Whilst I was ordering eagle-eyed Allan spotted a four-top table getting ready to depart and seized the moment to snatch up the table before the busboy arrived to clear it off.

Setting down my drink and pre-meal snacks, I strolled off to locate the restroom to clean up before lunch arrived. On my way out I spotted this unreal wall of cassette tapes with a large wooden red spoon. Laughing I snapped a photo then backed up to take another. Allan noticed my avant-garde and smiled as I sat down at the table. “Did you enjoy the wall?” he asked. Smiling I laughed before I spoke. “Its wild! With a Capital W. I’d love to do that to one of our walls at home. Not sure she would dig it as much as I though,” I said tapping an air finger at my beautiful wife. He laughed as well and replied, “I know what you mean.”

The women stopped their conversation long enough to look us both over twice then resumed their conversation until Shauna said, “seriously what is it that you want to do to our brand new walls?” Without answering I just pointed to the bathrooms and said, “go take a look for yourself. You can’t miss it. Its between the bathrooms.” She left to see what all the fuss was about.

Upon her return to the table she shook her head and says, “Where would we even find a 1,000 cassette tapes?” Before I could return fire, Allan says, “thrift store of course, you could probably get all 1,000 tapes for less than $25 dollars! And send us a photo of the wall you glue them to, too!”

Whilst he was expressing his enthusiasm for our art-deco home ideas the food runner arrived setting down Allan’s OG burger and she says, “who had the sweet tofu, yams, chickpeas…” before she finished Donna had raised her hand as those ingredients were in her salad.

The next food runner appeared and says, “Who has The Thai Cashew Salad?” Donna stopped smiling after her first bit of her meal raised her head and said, “excuse me?” with a bit of a startled look on her face. Everyone starred back at the food runner who then explained that the meal she was tenderly chewing was the Granby Bowl and the one in her hand was the Thai Cashew Salad. Donna excused herself and passed my meal to me as the waitress handed her, her actual meal.

“Seriously, Aaron, I’m sorry… are you sure you don’t want to trade? Yours sure is good,” Donna asked and apologized at the same time. “Nope. I am good. With such a great review why would I want to eat your lunch,” I smiled and giggled as did everyone else around us.

Our luncheon conversations fleeted between how they were doing, then to their daughter Mel, and the family. From there we went into our own lives and theirs too. How their retirement lives have been, why they decided to buy an electric Hyundai Kona, how long they had it, if they noticed a difference between it and an internal combustion engine (ICE) automobile. They spoke about all of the new housing developments being built near their home in Revelstoke, BC and how they planned on moving from this quaint mountain town of seventy-five hundred people to a much much larger city (130,000 population) at the head of the Okanagan Valley called Kelowna.

As we finished up our meals and beverages we thanked each other for a wonderful conversation and afternoon as we headed back out the front door into the sparkling sunshine. In front of their electric Kona, Allan informed the deciding factor between it and a Tesla 3 was the fifteen-thousand dollar price tag difference!

Then he shook my hand, hugged my wife and dropped himself down into the driver’s seat of the Kona whilst Donna gave each of us a long hug and said she was ecstatic to have us drop by for a few hours and that we were always welcome back.

~ Aaron JacksonCrabb