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December 21, 2014

George Smith: A porch and eggs in Abanda

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Posted: Sunday, July 20, 2014 12:46 am | Updated: 1:02 am, Sun Jul 20, 2014.

 

Red at morning, sailor's warning;

Red at night, sailor’s delight

***

ABANDA — A spectacular sunrise over southern Randolph County was in the rearview mirror when I pulled into the parking lot at the Abanda Bake Shop and Café on Wednesday morning.

Along the dipping highway heading into Wadley, that old folk saying from my childhood kept running through my mind.

This is a place I come often for breakfast with good people with good stories. Some of the stories are a bit sad while others rock the long table inside the Abanda Bake Shop and Café with laughter.

I first told you about Audra Gosdin and her dream of a bake shop/cafe on Feb. 24, 2013.

From that column, there is this:

“This is what I wanted to do, but it was just a dream. I didn’t think I’d ever get to do this, but it’s not finished yet. I want a big front porch out there with rockers so people can come and sit and visit.”

Her gravy-biscuit-egg platter would put Jack’s out of business if it were on Quintard. That’s how good it is and reason enough for a 52-mile drive that starts in darkness and rides into the day’s beginning.

But this trip Wednesday had an extra attraction. Audra has her porch and, from the parking lot, it turns her bobbed-front restaurant into what looks like a trading post in an old Western movie. When I mentioned that, she smiled ...

 

"That's exactly how I wanted it to look. How do you like it?"

Without waiting for the obvious answer, Audra headed into the kitchen to get my grease fix ready. She does that with just about every person who walks in the door. We’re all creatures of habit and taking an order from home folks is not necessary.

Oh, my fix?

When she sat it in front of me, the warm aroma of great country gravy covering country biscuits was a treat. A fork sticking upright through the gravy and into the biscuit was a nice touch. It was a real fork, too, not plastic. A pile of scrambled eggs trimmed the edge of the plate.

Coffee?

You get up and get that for yourself ... unless you know how the game is played at the Abanda breakfast table. Sit long enough and someone will get up and refill your cup for you. And for everybody else at the table, too.

There can be some one-upmanship, too.

Richard Cotney, a late arrival, came in the door, picked up the coffee pot, dealt warm-ups for everybody before sitting down. Richard is Elliot Cotney’s brother, but no one seems to hold that against him. Elliot is a buddy of mine, but I don’t think the folks here hold that against me, either.

Fact is, it was something of a Cotney sunrise. Two other Cotneys were at the table. One was Clay Cotney, a tall, lean man in a white cowboy hat.

He had a seat by me, but didn’t say much. He was occupied with an egg omelet as long as a river bridge, a pile of scrambled eggs that had to have come from several different hens, and a heap of hashbrowns you’d need a yardstick to measure.

Clay did take the time to give the report from the Roanoke Stock Yard where he works.

“Had 1,200 head to go through there yesterday. Prices were good, too.”

One regular missing Thursday morning was Shirley Estes. Shirley and her husband Ed were joined at the hip. When you saw one, you saw the other. A guess is it was one heck of a love affair.

How long, I asked Ed.

“We were married 54 years and eight months.”

There was a softness in his voice you could almost touch.

So, is there a message in all of this?

No, just a very good morning in my life ... other than learning Shirley Estes would no longer be eating breakfast with Ed at the Abanda Bake Shop and Café.

 

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