by Ed Chasteen
Roberta hadn’t planned to return. But, then she hadn’t planned to leave in the first place. She had just remodeled the place, providing an even more enticing ambiance for Lowman’s Cafe, even changing the name to Warrior Cafe to honor Smithville High School’s mascot. Roberta is a Smithville High alum.
Within a month of remodeling an out-of-town buyer came with an offer Roberta could not refuse. Twenty years of running this good place gave this unsolicited out-of-the-blue offer an irresistible appeal. I’ll have time to relax. To volunteer. Roberta said. Thus did the newly minted Warrior Cafe undergo another remodeling and emerge as Dotson’s Cafe.. Two months in this incarnation and Dotson’s closed. A closed sign appeared on the door. A For Sale sign stabbed into the ground out front.
And I got an email from Roberta. She was back. Her staff needed a place to work. Her regulars, a place to eat. Hometown Cafe now it was called. Roberta wanted our Saturday breakfast riders to know. Over the past 15 years we had ridden from Liberty for breakfast at Lowman’s about a hundred times, conferring on us the status of regulars.
This October 24, 2015 Saturday morning 16 of us have rendezvoused at Hometown. Twelve left the bike shop together at 8 o’clock. I lingered a few minutes in my car. Another rider appeared. “Follow me. I’ll lead you to them.” We catch up to them out on South Liberty Parkway. Charles joins the pack. I drive on.
Darrell rode from his home in Kearney; Graham from his home in Kansas City here north of the river. We pull several tables together in the back corner. Garret is our waiter. Krishna from Nepal is our spirit rider today, as he has been since Jnne 20 when we began our virtual ride to Nepal to get acquainted with the folks whose lives were upended by the April earthquakes.
We have now ridden more than the 7,711.82 miles from Liberty to Bharatpur, Nepal, Krishna’s hometown. Our Saturday rides to small town cafes for the foreseeable future will also add to our virtual miles in Nepal as we bike around to the villages damaged by the earthquake. So as we pedal up and over Missouri hills, we pedal also in our minds up and over Mount Everest foothills. When we stop as we do today at Hometown Cafe, we stop also in those places in Nepal where Krishna goes with his friends.
Riders today: Darrell Baker, Delfina Ortiz, Godfrey Duru, Bernd Abele, Terry Sharp, Mike Lacy, Terry Clark, Jay Smith, Adrian Munoz, Graham Houston, Bill Hessel, Steve Hanson, Mary Bulman Griggs, Charles Bradfield, Tom Raines, Ed Chasteen