During the winter months when the chance of crowds is low, we like to hit our favorite Cannon Beach coffee shops on the weekends, tourist style. That’s when you can really stretch out and take your time lingering over your latte at Insomnia or Sleepy Monk, or tear off a hunk of that terrific baguette they make at Sea Level to go with your Americano, a la the perfect Parisienne petit déjeuner. I admit in the winter months I sometimes wonder if I’ll ever get off this coast and visit once again Tortolla or St. Barts. Then I remind myself I don’t have to go far to have a vacation-like morning coffee right here in Cannon Beach.
We hadn’t seen some arty friends of ours in awhile. They are ambitiously early-risers (or insomniacs, I haven’t asked) who set out in all weathers on long walks before dawn. I’m intrigued by these ghostly pilgrimages they make around a big loop. Through their telling, I learn about baby seals and other flora and fauna they observe, things only really seen before sun-up.
We exchanged a brief volley of messages about a meeting place. It was determined our meeting would take place at Cheri’s Café because that is their only place.
Cheri’s is open every day except Wednesday. That’s the day they are closed. They open at 8 a.m. It was about 10:30 a.m., when we met up with our friends, which for them was more like time for lunch. He ordered the soup of the day, a chowder, while Mr. Sax and I had Americanos. I ate a cookie while Mr. Sax also had Cheri’s signature breakfast sandwich.
I asked them about that morning’s walk and heard they’d made friends with some dogs despite not really being dog people. I found out they walk in sun, rain, sleet, hail, wind, nothing deters them. They sometimes walk in pitch dark. Quite understandably, they object to overnight outdoor lighting because it spoils the picture.
We had to wait for a table to open because they sit only at one. It’s the table with a sign on it that says Stammtisch. To read what that meant, I had to put my glasses on.
Stammtisch, I learned, is a German term describing an informal group meeting that takes place held on a regular basis at the same table and the same spot. A Stammtisch is not a structured meeting, but rather a friendly get-together that can occur quite randomly. Traditionally, the meeting table is marked with a somewhat elaborate sign reserving it for regulars. The table of our friends is the Stammtisch table at Cheri’s.
So it’s a big deal we get to sit with you at this table, I said to our friends. We’re getting the royal treatment. I’m not sure, but I think behind me, Cheri might have been rolling her eyes. Our man friend even has a particular seat he always takes at the table. I think there should be a a plaque on it that says “Reserved.”
This is where it all happens, he said. We all laughed and lifted our soup spoons and coffee cups to the spirit of Stammtisch.