Windber Coffeehouse Nights: August 9, 2018

First up: My somewhat ancient laptop has been pronounced beyond repair and I’ll have a new one in a few days. Accordingly, I expect to be personally, if temporarily broke real soon now (despite the fact that my computer guy is cutting me a nice deal–Thanks, Chris!). Meanwhile, continuing to fall back on my local library desktops. Not sure how I could access the visuals I usually employ to ‘spice up’ these posts, so for the moment you’ll have to content yourself with plain text.

Support your local libraries, by the way–they (like mine here in Windber, PA, USA) offer multiple valuable, entertaining and important services for people of all age! (Note: This might not be the only library-focused pitch I throw in here–you have been warned!)

Okay, last night provided another good, enjoyable time at the Grand Midway, Windber’s fabled Haunted Hotel. Blair didn’t have any AirBNB customers just then and no totally new people wandered in, either. Yet there were quite a few friends who hadn’t been seen at the Midway of late. One of those deserves particular mention and has a special place in my life (we co-founded The Sanctuary of Steele, Inc. in 2012 and remain very dear friends, as well as partners in that modest not-for-profit venture). But Synthia (Syn for short, as some of you well know) has been dogged by health problems in the recent past–the 3-year anniversary of her brain surgery was days ago–and hasn’t lived close by for a while. But for now, that oversight has been corrected big-time: She’s rented a place at the Grand Midway for the next month as she figures out something more permanent.

This has given me an excuse (as if I needed one) to spend even more time hanging around Blair’s establishment. Yes, there were rugs and furniture to get into place. Fortunately, there were other matters involved, as well. So I’ve been helping her reconnect with the familiar sites (and people!) as well as acquainting her with what’s new around town. Last night, we went up to the Windber Wok for some generously proportioned and tasty takeout, which went quite well with the Dunkin Donuts coffee that was on offer at the Midway. Syn, rest assured, is delighted that our home town now has a Chinese restaurant. Culinary diversity rules!

Our intrepid host (Blair) put out a healthy selection of FREE cookies along the coffee bar for the evening, so we (okay, me especially) got to a supplemental dessert beyond the mandatory fortune cookies. By the end of the evening, six plates of assorted goodies were consolidated into one and a half. NOT all do to my efforts, though—no matter what Blair and Syn like to claim, my appetite DOES have  limits.

It wasn’t a formal open mic night, but one of our musically inclined regulars (Hi, Ed!) brought his guitar and started strumming. Alas, a string broke halfway through his first song. One of his buddies had another, but rather than taking time to tune it up he squeezed into place in a corner to join the five people already playing a fantasy adventure role-playing game (Pathfinder, if I’m not mistaken).

Six-year-old Frankie was on hand and as full of energy as ever. With his parents among those immersed in rolling many-sided dice and figuring point scores in said game, he beguiled me for several minutes with the story of two demons, one good and one evil–although they kept magically switching sides and/or identities. Great, imaginative kid that Frankie.

Mark the school bus driver (as opposed to Mark the Plumber, Mark the Magician or such other Marks as may be associated with this place) discussed (with Syn and I) how to get her big screen TV out of storage and up to the Demon Room (named for the painting on one wall a previous renter left behind).

The evening’s two movies featured themes of music and battling educational conformity. First up, Jack Black sets loose the creativity of a classroom of private school kids in the delightful School of Rock. Then young Christian Slater and his unlicensed radio station shake things up at an uptight high school for Pump Up the Volume.

Amber and Megan, our two resident Pokemon Go diehards, latched onto Syn. Last year’s craze may have passed, but electronic game is still out there. They got her interested enough that she agreed to walk around town, trying to fully understand it as the two hunters captured online monsters. They were gone about 45 minutes. But Syn had been looking for extra exercise/physical therapy, so she came back tired but with no complaints.

Meanwhile, I’d been trying to explain the game to a couple of our older regulars who were parked in chairs outside of the building. Yeah, like really knew what the attraction of it all was! Anyway, we (and others) soon turned to star- and planet-gazing as we tried to identify each point of light that appeared in the night sky.

The coffee proved popular enough to empty one of Blair’s machines for the second  straight Thursday, so he brought out another (was this a sign of the free snacks’ success?).

I reminded Blair he could pick up the popcorn-maker he’d loaned the library for their summer fundraiser. Or should I say ‘our’ fundraiser, since I (among others) helped put it together and run it as part of the reborn Friends of the Library group. It was a nice success, clearing over $1400 in the final accounting, as noted at our weekly meeting yesterday afternoon. Any area folks interested in helping take note: We meet regularly, Thursday at 5 PM in the library for planning additional events. Live far away or don’t have time to volunteer–but still want to help? Go online ( and click on “Save Your Library” (our theme for the next months) for lots of helpful actions, including an upgraded donation button. While no longer in immediate threat of closure, keeping such institutions as this fine free library strong is an ongoing/never-ending matter! (End of lecture.)

Good times at my favorite spooky place, having my best and dearest friend back within walking distance, the prospect of soon having a reliable laptop again–and free cookies!

Could life get any better?

We shall see…..






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