Never “just another day” . . . What started out as just another great day, as most do in my life, turned out to be another  delightful one that I just had to share with you in the hopes that you too may discover delight in your own life today (and everyday!).

Saturday, June 13th: a sunshine Summery day in the morning turned into cloudy overcast and some rain by noon.  What a reason to find some grandchildren as an excuse to go see the new Disney/Pixar movie, UP, and of course I had to do it at one of the 3D showings of that movie.  Inviting Pam’s, daughter, Kate was easy, especially since I told her to bring the two kids along (smile!) as our treat.  Pam did her smart mother thing, packing 5 small bags of popcorn, Juicy Juice and cans of soda into her magical pocketbook (to save what today would cost $50 at the refreshment stand!) and off we were to the 2:30 showing, getting inside just before the rains began in earnest.

What a neat show that was, not so much for the two grandchildren, Keira and Caleb, who frequently insisted on taking off the special 3D glasses (for which you spend a surcharge of$3.50 each to see the 3D version of this story), but for the really fun storyline of this movie filled with things and references that only an adult would “get” and those made this something akin to their “Toy Story” movies of a few years back, adult stuff throughout that made the kids just the excuse for going.  I don’t want to get into the cute story here (with its excitement and scary moments too), except to highly recommend it for adults who can bring along the children if they wish, but these two under five year olds really didn’t get it and in some places it may be too scarey for anyone that young.  Just something to be forewarned about.

But it gets better . . . While that would have been enough to make this a fun day alone, turns out that was just the beginning.  After dropping off the kids (mom and grandkids), Pam and I ventured out under some really dark and ominous clouds to see what a new eatery just down the block from our home was all about.

Trivia question for you . . . So, what does an abandoned “Old Fleet Bank” building, a Willingboro chiropractor and a passionate local B&B celebrity who raises horses, donkeys, pigmy pigs and a half zebra/half donkey have in common?  Well that’s what we discovered when we ducked into the newly opened “Green Cafe @ Whitebriar” on this serendipity Summer Saturday evening.

The Adventure (and some answers)
The Green Cafe is housed in an old bank building and upon entering from the walk lined with pots of herbs growing for kitchen use (we assumed, since they proudly proclaim everything – well, almost everything – to be organic) we found ourselves in an antique shop of sorts.  Greeted enthusiastically by the owner/cook/chief bottle washer, etc. (yes, she’s everything), Carol Moore, we found ourselves quickly past our original intent of “just checking out the menu to see IF we would stay to eat in this strange looking bank place”, engaged in a passionate and very friendly “verbal menu” presentation of a small but delicious sounding list of homemade (and organic) soups, sandwiches, teas/coffees and desserts.  There was no decision to be made – we were obviously going to “give it a try” and faced the challenge of choosing which of several dining areas we would sit in as our own “private dining area” as Carol explained proudly how they had done nothing by way of renovation to change any of the historic banking interior, each bank office now a unique dining world of its own.  Antiques were everywhere – most, as Carol explained with her focused welcome on us, were on their  way to a yard sale or junk yard when she “recycled” them to offer here as very inexpensive items for sale in every crowded corner of this homely living space – carpeted TV area with rocking chairs, game boards, magazines, etc.

Ok, we were hooked and choose a “room” by one of  the bank officer’s office windows with a small table and four chairs, surrounded by these antiques.  We ordered from today’s specials of soup (I had the definitely homemade and delicious beef barley – which needed much added salt to satisfy my taste, something I seldom add – while “companion” (as the food reviewers often refer to them…), Pam, raved about the chili with cheese sprinkled on top (that’s saying a lot since Pam is a very selective eater and when she raves about something that’s saying something!).  This was followed by sandwiches – on small tasty rolls served with (non-organic) bags of potato chips, just enough for a perfect sized meal for both of us.  Beverages were a selection of organic teas (in cold bottles you help yourself to from the nearby cooler) and we both enjoyed our different selections.  They also offer Coca Cola but even that’s “special” here in that its the original recipe drink featuring real sugar, something Coke recently reintroduced with great fanfare to the market with a big “retro” theme.

Carol is big into medical information and freely offers much advice about foods and medications from her long history of studies in these areas.  She shared that most evenings there were doctors dropping by to eat and offering their professional free advice to any customers who happen to be there.  The main dining area features a large family style table, so guests can share their dining experience if they don’t happen to want the quieter private smaller tabled rooms with a few friends (i.e., a couple like ourselves enjoying a quiet romantic evening out, or a table of senior lady friends engaged in animated conversation in the next “office” area of the bank).  Quickly everyone who comes in is somehow acquainted (through Carol’s friendly intro’s if none else) and make instant friends.  Its just the way the place is, warm and friendly.

So, where’s the chiropractor (and the post’s title “Roy Rogers”) you ask?  Well, as we slowly enjoyed our meal and conversation (there’s no rushing you out in this place!), Carol dropped by to ask if we were staying for the concert. “What concert was that?” Pam asked.  Its now about 6 o’clock, and we’ve been leisurely enjoying the meal since five.  Seems a “Cowboy Phil” is scheduled to give his Roy Rogers/Gene Autry singing/guitar playing impersonations show beginning at 7.  Strange eatery that doesn’t push you to leave, instead encourages you to “just sit back and relax, take in the antiques, read the (very) local travel magazines” and stay until Bill arrives.  Heck, why not.  We have an open evening and must admit, never had this kind of opportunity presented to us before (especially since its a heavy downpour outside now and, just imagine, this is only a block from our home in little ol’ Edgewater Park) .

We order some of those homemade desserts – Pam loves the delicious carrot cake, while I opt for the apple cake with whipped cream on top (of course) and boy was that good! (I ordered an extra piece to take home).  Sipping our teas over cake, I moved to the lounge chair by the window, looking out at the heavy rain, reflecting on how I love this woman in my life, Pam, for being so open to such an adventure as we are on this evening.  Time flies by and several others come in to await “Cowboy Phil” with some being fans who follow him around the area where he evidently performs like this regularly.

The Concert . . .

the "real" Roy Rogers

the "real" Roy Rogers

Seven o’clock and there’s Cowboy Phil, decked out in a Roy Rogers cowboy outfit, guitar around his neck, sitting on “his horse” (a blond Palomino – ala Roy’s famous horse, “Trigger” – stuffed rocking horse antique which I’m not sure if he brought with him, or whether it was just here as part of the collection all around us).  Shifting his white hat back and forth between two positions to indicate which singing cowboy, Roy (hat back on his head with a bush of  hair under the front brim) or Gene (hat fully down on the head, no hair showing), he was mimicking with each song, he shared facts about

the "real" Gene Autry

the "real" Gene Autry

those two singers and their history of movies and music, often involving his audience (about 20 of us by now, scattered around the “bank” in chairs and benches, but always room somehow for one or two more who arrive later, with Carol moving chairs and taking different seats herself to make room, always the consummate hostess, excitedly welcoming friends and guests coming in from the rain through the “old” screen front door) with trivia questions that get guesses and proud correct answers from ancient memories throughout the audience.

Turns out “Cowboy Phil” is a local chiropractor who took up this research and song collecting as a hobby and entertains us now with his singing, whistling and yodeling (in the Roy and Gene styles), an hour’s worth of cowboy songs and stories.  He promises to be back here on the 2nd Saturday of each month, much to everyone’s delight.

Finally, the evening draws to a close, but not quite yet as Carol (and husband, Bill) offer everyone to stay and enjoy hot tea or coffee, serving plates of that delicious homemade apple cake (with homemade whipped cream!) all around – this time no charge!  (note: with dinner earlier it was only $3)  Now where can you get that service, atmosphere, concert and free dessert besides?  At the Green Cafe @ Whitebriar in Edgewater Park, NJ – you have to drop by and meet Carol – she’s a character in the truest sense of the word (and I use that word, “character,” in a very positive sense)

PS: Check out Carol and Bill’s on-line tour at  http://whitebriarbedandbreakfast.com/virtual-tour of their B&B which is just next door to the Cafe. There you can spend the night (and even visit the animals! – where else are you going to hear “Roy Rogers” and see a half-zebra?)

Yes, a very “delightful day” here…… and I do so hope you find your own delights in your days wherever you are.  And as Cowboy Phil quoted from Roy Roger’s famous radio show closing words each week:

“May the good Lord continue
to have a liking for you and yours.”

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