Dateline - Sunday morning on Maple Street:
The northern part of Omaha is always a fun place for me to visit.
The neighborhood is kinda progressive, kinda seedy, I'm not sure its the place to be if you write grants for a living.
The people who live here are clever....but rough around the edges.
They simply don't go for "Who-Haw" around this neighborhood.
These folks make me feel at home.
So like the heading said....it's Sunday morning and I am amidst a pile of people, 1/2 of whom spent the previous evening at the Benson Beer Fest.
The crowd is quiet as they make their way up the sidewalk to Joe's Cafe, where you are advised to "Bring Your Appetite."
While my companions file into the restaurant, I decided to take a couple extra seconds to stay outside and look down the street.
In many ways Nebraska reminds me of my childhood summers spent in Texas.
The smaller towns have Main Streets that stretch for blocks, and almost none of the buildings have a second story.
The ground, well it's flat and maybe it's just me, but this seems to make the sky look so much bigger than the sky I view on a daily basis in Saint Paul.
It's gotta be around 10 or 11 and the sun is already blazing.
Before I finally ducked in....I thought to myself that this place reminded me of that town in "The Last Picture Show"....I think that was Jeff Bridges right?
So now I pop into Joe's, and my group has camped out at the largest table in the backroom of the cafe.
It's been over a year since I've last been here, but I asked the 16...17 year old waitress if they've rearranged the booths.
"Yeah, Hun.....yeah we did, and we also added that.".....
She points directly over our table and there's a big plasma TV.
The clicker is on the table, and as she gushes over how excited the staff and patrons are, now that they've been hooked up to Direct TV...she informs us that the "unwritten rule" is that whoever fills the "Big Table"....the one we are sitting at, they get to control what's gonna be watched at Joe's.
There was already a room full of peeps watching some mindless dribble, and typically I'd just let it go, and let the mob continue in their ways, but the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth was being broadcast on CNN and I really wanted to check it out for a bit.
If you ever make it to Joe's Cafe, C.N.N. is channel 200.
So I flicked it now, and they are showing us pictures of all the celebs the Queen has kicked it with over the last 6+ decades....Elizabeth and Nixon, Elisabeth and Tutu, Elizabeth and Lady Gaga....it was really quite interesting.
But then they cut back live and broadcast the Queen trolling down the Thames on her Royal barge.....Holy Polish Christ...those Brits really go in for all the bells and whistles huh?
It was spectacular, her entire barge was adorned in red and gold......it was so regal.
One of the TV announcers informed us that there was over 14 miles of Union Jack bunting lining the river.
I'll bet there was at least...at least 1000 boats total.
And they all floated quietly through a dark - wet - misty morning.
Everywhere you looked....people were 5-6-8 deep on the river banks.
The coolest part however was this "Belfry Boat" that they made.
It followed along the barge, and this little boat (by comparison) had like 8 bells on it, and I think each one of them weighed 1/2 a ton.
So as this aquatic parade drifted through London, whenever they passed a church, the churches tower would ring its bells, and then this Belfry Boat would echo the same melody.
As C.N.N. pulled into a tight close up of this most unusual Bell Boat.....our waitress stepped over to our table to take our order.
Although the place was pretty busy, this young woman set order order pad down for a moment, rested her chin in the palm of her hand and watched the color and pageantry in amazement.
Finally when C.N.N. broke for a commercial, she kinda got this innocent smirk on her face and informed me......
"You're never gonna see that in Omaha!"
LOL, not in a million years kid.
For those of you passing through......Joe's Cafe is top notch and earns 5 out of 5 Klecko Cafe Stars.