Gumbo, what a mix! She sits in City Park watching people just for kicks on Sunday afternoon, while a guy who looks like Carlos Santana plays guitar. Sweet Home City Chicago he croons into the microphone. Black leathery hands stroke the conga drums; the wiry musician smiles as his head rhythmically nods.
Morning Call paper hats, black pants and white jackets, uniformed waiters, wizened locals, whose faces say, I've seen it all, efficiently deliver coffee and beignets. A blonde little girl sipping chocolate milk has brought her Beagle. “Mom, she keeps pulling,” the girl says as she sticks out her hand. “Why did you bring her?” the woman asks as she takes the leash. Under the red umbrella mom, her two sisters and grandma pour powdered sugar on their doughnuts. Betsy, the Beagle shivers with excitement. The puppy terrier two tables away just had water poured in a bowl. I could have some of that water, if I could just get over there. She gives the mom a long look and another shiver. A few tugs later, one of our wise waiters arrives at their table with a pan of water, but mom barely seems to notice as she takes a puff off her cigarette. Grandma and auntie in green with a white powder chin puff and dunk beignets as Betsy, the Beagle gets restless.
Purple, grey and green the VIP City Tours Bus slips into a slot. Tourists pour out off the door wearing sandals, shorts and curious looks. Running children scream loudly as rain spurts for but a moment. A pod of young people carrying Frisbees march to door, while two old couples meander under the live oak trees. They've seen showers before, this one is no big deal.
Laid back locals locate choice corner spots, smiling and nodding to others who appear to be milling about, but really know where they want to be. Landed gentry ladies in linen with hubbies sporting shirts with polo players on the chest stride to the center, where they stand with expectation in their eyes. Waiters hustle with more than their usual bustle, makes me kind of wonder whose family name is on the door. Table for four front and center, answers the question how a skinny old man can have muscle.
She's here all alone, only her waiter can see her. The coffee is good, but the spinach and artichoke bread really hit the spot.