The morning would bring with it an excitement like Christmas and yet sadness too, like the last day of school in the spring. This bittersweet feeling came all because of something my dad had whispered to Yancy and me late that night, “Tomorrow we go to the Hoot Owl.” This small statement, coupled with the fact that my flight took off later that afternoon, had me feeling a mix of emotion.
So, what's The Hoot Owl? Well, The Hoot Owl is one of those little restaurants which you can only seem to find in small towns. It’s the place which has been run by the same family for years and the menu doesn’t ever seem to change…it’s like stepping back in time to a place that never seems to age, no matter how much I do.
On Saturday morning I was the first awake, and I carefully awoke my brother and dad. I felt like I did when I was a kid…trying so hard to be so quiet on Christmas morning, and yet wanting to be loud so we could get things rolling. It didn’t take long before the two of them were wide awake and we slipped off into the early morning mist and shadows which still covered the sleepy neighborhood on
Red Clover Drive.
As we drove to The Hoot Owl the sun slowly broke into life, rising ever so leisurely with its first rays of morning reaching over the mountains to linger on the treetops, orange and yellow. We parked in the dirt lot next door and made our way to the brightly-lit restaurant which greeted us not only with warmth from the chilly October air, but a bundle of smells which all spelled breakfast.
Years ago my dad used to joke with us, telling us that each of the flies which always buzzed about this café all had names, and were personally trained by the family, being kept in little cages at night and released every morning to greet the customers. Though the thought of flies in a restaurant may sound nauseating, this is just one of the small things about this little restaurant which gives it a feeling of home. I’m sure that a part of this sentiment is due to the fact that it is a place that I’ve only been to with my dad before, and no matter how old we get we hold on to traditions—even those which have only been in existence for a few years.
My dad, my brother, and I sat there and talked over our steaming plates of breakfast. We didn’t necessarily discuss anything which was life-changing, or anything which was incredibly profound…we just talked. Many moments I just listened to what was being said. Amidst spills of water and maple syrup, laughter and deep thought, and friendly greetings from other people my dad and brother knew, we had the opportunity spend a last little while together before I left for Utah…this is something which doesn’t seem to happen near enough with my dad.
As we walked outside once-again into the chilly October morning, we said our goodbyes and went our separate ways. As I climbed into the rental car, fired up the engine, and began the two-hour drive to the
, I thought of how fortunate I was to have a family who cares about me, and one I care about back. Already in my mind I was anticipating breakfast at some future time again with my dad and brother at The Hoot Owl. Spokane Airport