The Rotary Club of Mitchell Field presentation and signing went well. Some Rotarians brought guests, specifically because of the program topic – me talking about “Anatomy of a Trial.” From their attention, questions and feedback, they weren’t disappointed. Son-in-law Tom offered an observation, which I thought illuminating. He recalled a trip he made from Milwaukee to L.A. to see my daughter (and his intended at the time), during which I took them in for a short visit with Judge Ito. Tom recounted how surprised he was that here this judge was immersed in what by that time was universally being described as the ‘trial of the century’ and a courtroom full of media, celebrities, ‘dream-team’ lawyers and enough ‘issues’ to drive the most unflappable of judges nuts. Yet, after introductions and his invitation for his guests to have a seat, rather than talk about what was going on with him or the swirl around the trial, he asked Tom and Carrianne what was going on back in Wisconsin and how the weather was there. “He was just such a regular guy, not at all what I expected,” Tom told his fellow Rotarians. Describing his experience was a nice enhancement to the program. I understood the attendance was about a third more than average.
The same couldn’t be said of crowd — or lack of — at the FIXX Coffee House a few days later. Customers were few – FIXX proprietor Shari Franz had said Saturday mornings between 9 and 11 usually saw about 100. Two factors were at play, though. One was the weather. A blizzard had blown through the day before, depositing more than a foot of snow, and more snow was in the forecast. The other was the season. Surely, a number of FIXX regulars were using the last Saturday morning before Christmas to do last-minute shopping and other holiday-related preparations – especially with the potential of getting around later being hampered by even more snow.
But we had a great time anyway. First was just the ambience of the place. It’s dominated by a conversation pit of comfy broad-shouldered sofas with a large low coffee table laden with magazines, catalogs and board games in the center. A basket of toys for kids sits next to the coffee table. A dozen or so tiled-top tables line one side of the restaurant, each surrounded by spindle-back white oak (I’m guessing) chairs, and many with games like cribbage or checkers awaiting players. A few more tables – the small round tall kind typical at bars – dot the front part of the dining room. A piano with books and an alabaster (or faux) bust of Beethoven on top sits against one wall. Small displays of hand-made jewelry, silver book marks, stained-glass sun catchers, business cards and photographs by a local photographer and stacks of books fill every corner and flat surface. Notices of coming attractions are tacked above the coffee condiments sideboard; musicians Ellie and Jerry Quint, guitarist Keith Hampton. The Celtic folk band, the Garlic Mustard Pickers,” have played there.
We met a professor of education at a local college whom we plan to hook up with our online education development expert daughter. We had a couple of suggestions for Shari about spreading the word about happenings at the FIXX. We ended our morning with a great chicken salad wrap and butter-rum flavored coffee before heading out into the snow to finish up our Christmas errand running.