Oregon Caves Coffee Shop

* Unkind Supposition In the quiet of a near-empty coffee shop a logger’s flame-thrower lighter and great clouds of tobacco smoke silently offend me. His wife looks worried, and no wonder; he’s retired from logging— ahead is only sportfishing and a long descent to the grave. * Tourists arrive, subdued by nature, at a loss; they do not joke, prod, tease, or, in general, act arrogant and self-sufficient. Perhaps they are abashed by the innocence of cheerful knotty-pine walls and clean breakfast counters, and don’t know what to wonder about dirty mountains of marble, Douglas Fir, and Broadleaf Maple. A timid wife lags behind her husband and in-laws to ask if there’s hot chocolate and sweet rolls for her kids. The waitress (a college student who acts the part) balances orange juice tippling from the lips of little glasses and writes the bill for us in a fully legible hand.

31 August 1982