At the risk of sounding like the proverbial broken record (and a whiny complaining one at that), the Thursday June 20 coffeehouse proved a less than satisfying effort. Again we were plagued by bad weather (thunder, lightning, a couple downpours of pelting rain) and low attendance. I’m sure the opening night of the region’s hugely popular Thunder in the Valley motorcycle rally didn’t help.

Ah, well.

44 years to the day after Jaws was released in theaters, my bright idea was a Big Film Beasts movie theme. Accordingly, we opened at 6 PM sharp with coffee brewed, the kettle for hot tea and/or cocoa bubbling, and a classic oversized primate’s tragic story unfolding before our very eyes. You know who I mean (and no, not Jack Black!)


The 2005 version of King Kong is pretty long (3 hours, 8 minutes), but Director Peter Jackson moves it along well enough. Black is the ever-on-the-make Depression era filmmaker and Naomi Watts is the new and improved Fay Wray character. And besides the sympathetic Great Ape, you also get dinosaurs, insects and bats (all on the large and fiercely hostile side).

As is so often the case, Amber was the first paying customer. She arrived on the back of her Dad’s motorcycle and promptly spied the antique barber’s chair. The coffeehouse’s most recent addition (freshly rescued from potential landfill oblivion by our Glorious Leader, Blair Murphy) seemed the ideal place to enjoy the film from. So Amber latched onto it, 1st nursing a cold soda and then sipping a mug of hot cocoa amid periodic 360-degree rotations. I’m not sure if she (or 2 later guests who tried it out) knew, but I can confirm that the foot-operated pump gizmo that raises and lowers the chair does, indeed, still function.

About 10 days ago, a woman from Beaverdale and her 3 kids enjoyed an overnight stay in one of the upstairs rental suites. They were impressed, to the point that she summoned her new boyfriend (a South Fork native) to see Windber’s most haunted and artfully decorated destination. They pledged to return, and tonight the adults fulfilled the promise.

Indeed, these good folks promised that for the next coffeehouse they were going to drag as many of their friends as possible over to soak in the Grand Midway’s unique charms.

On the DVD front,  we shifted gears from that high-budget remake of a legendary film to a (mostly) fun example of 1950s giant creature genre (mixed a little weirdly with early rock ‘n’ roll youth flick as the mutant monster’s chief foe here is a hot-rod-racing mechanic turned singer/songwriter).


Spoiler: Despite what the poster above says, it isn’t God who stops the massive lizard. Our hero’s souped-up car and a certain highly explosive liquid are involved.

In the last 2 hours we were open,  a not-grand total of 1 more paying customer blessed our efforts. That was Mark the School Bus Driver (as opposed to Mark the Plumber, Mark the Magician and any other Marks known to frequent the hotel). But at least this Mark had yet to examine my latest publication: a story in a hardcover book of SF/F/H for young readers. So I had an excuse to expound on my joy at this success again (the cover art immediately below):


Last but not least, we returned to classic movie monster territory as I popped the Big Fish in question into the DVD player.


“Bruce” (as the shark’s human co-stars dubbed him) had chomped down on more than a couple individuals before the Midway’s owner came wearily in the door. Delivering blood products for the Red Cross across the state, weekday night after night, is tiring enough, without the added frustration of seeing his caffeine-centered side activity in the doldrums.

Thus, Blair is considering trying different hours. Would Saturday hours work better?

Nothing is firm just yet. But you can depend on a couple things:

  1. I’ll be here and….
  2. I’ll report on how it goes, week by week.


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