|The English Cafè
Sheila and Dennis Preisler
© Copyright 2003 by Sheila and Dennis Preisler
As I stepped off of the train, the morning air greeted me. Off I was to see the other side of the world. I loved to travel, the new experiences were exciting. Even though I was tried from the train ride, I decided to stop at an English cafè and have my first really European breakfast. I spotted a very interesting cafè across from the train station. As I approached the cafè, I noticed the name was Mitchell's. As a Mitchell, I wondered if there was some type of ancestral connection. I sat down and took off my coat and waited to be waited on. The waiter approached me and handed me a menu. At this point I was so hungry, I ordered the special, steak and eggs.
"Very good," the waiter said, in a comical English accent, "would you like a spot of coffee as well?"
"Sure that would be splendid," I replied, in an out going sort of way.
The food looked delicious when it arrived.
"Is there anything else I can get you?" said the waiter.
"No, but I am interested in knowing about the owners, are they Mitchell's?" I inquired.
"Yes they are. They have been around for centuries."
"Wow, believe it or not, I'm a Mitchell, I'm hoping to find some of my ancestral roots on my visit here," I quipped.
The waiter held his hand up motioning for the owner to come by. A short, stocky woman with a ruddy complexion came over to the table. In a soft tone the lady said, "can I help you in any way?"
"My family name is Mitchell, and I was drawn to your cafè because of the name," I politely replied. "My ancestors lived in the Appalachian Mountains for many years."
"That's very interesting, because my great, great granduncle went to America," the owner commented.
My eyes got really big and my body began to freeze, thinking maybe there was a connection.
"I'm not sure where he ended up, but my grandmother told me that he lived in some mountains over there."
"Can you describe what the place was like there?" I asked the owner.
"Which place? Where my great, great granduncle moved to?" she asked, puzzled.
Felling very excited, I pulled out a picture of my grandfather and said "Does this ring any bells?"
"Just a moment," and she scurried off to the back room. Minutes went by then finally the owner came back with a photo album. As she set the photo album down at my table, a large commotion erupted out on the street drawing her attention away from me. I was so drawn toward the photo album that my fingers began to take over and my eyes were captured by all of the fascinating pictures. As the owner rushed off to deal with the argument in the street, I eagerly paged through the photo album. I began to go places where I have never been, it was almost like I was living in that time.
I turned a page, and I gasped, there before me was a photograph of three men, posing at the foot of a mountain, that I felt I knew. I closed my eyes and began to dream down a long path that lead me to the bottom of an open canyon. I remembered my mother, taking me down a set of railroad tracks, to the base of a mountain, it all seemed so familiar.
Out of the blue, there stood the owner looking at me. The way her face looked, reminded me of my grandmother.
I eagerly asked, "what is your first name?"
"Margaret" she replied.
I sat there in awe. She asked me if I was all right.
"Yes," I said in a child like voice. "This photograph, it looks so familiar, do you know who these men are?"
"The man in the middle is my great great grand uncle."
"I know this place," I said, "it's where my mother grew up."
"Margaret Mitchell is that you," said a voice coming from the back.
With that, she gathered up her photo album and scurried back into the crowded cafè.
I finished up my coffee and threw down a tip.
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