October 15, 2006
Saturday was a hopping day in Kosse. We had a convergence of three major events, all of
which brought their unique crowd members. The Kosse First United Methodist Church had the
annual Fall Bazaar at their newly-constructed pavilion, the City-Wide Garage Sale was held to
benefit the Kosse Community Center, and the Lindsey's Meadowcreek Park was host to a
large equine event.
I wrote a short editorial commentary regarding the upcoming Kosse street improvement
referendum. This can be found on the Kosse Courier page. Click for Kosse Courier.
Part V: Roots of the Kosse Cafe
I've often mentioned the premier waitress of Central Texas, Dana (Chicken) Taylor. Chicken
is the only person at the Kosse Cafe who remains from the original group of employees. Her
transformation during the ensuing twelve years has been remarkable. Chicken was eighteen
when we bought the business. She was having a difficult period in her life and found herself
residing with Peggy. She was serving as dishwasher and general gofer, and was being paid
an abysmal $50 per week. The first thing I did was increase her pay, as the work she was
expected to do was well above her previous compensation. As I got to know Chicken better, I
realized what a unique personality she possessed. She had a gift of gab and likability that
was being wasted standing over a sinkful of dirty dishes. She needed to be a waitress. Due
to customer tips, the waitresses generally make more than any other classification of cafe
employees. (As a result of this reality there have been a few waitresses in cafe history who
were territorial over their hours to the point of hostility, but that is another story.) Having been
driven to the point of low self-esteem, Chicken was initially resistant to the idea of going on the
floor. I knew she was a hard worker and strongly believed she would hit it off with the
customers if she could only overcome her reticence. She finally consented to a shift as
waitress, and it was soon evident she was a restaurant owner's dream waitress. She took
personal pride in her duties, was totally honest and loyal, and was a cleaning dynamo.
Chicken was also someone I could count on to tell it like it is, and there were many times I had
Peggy come to me (after Chicken had bluntly spoken her mind) and tell me "it was her or that
#*&% redhead". The irony is that Peggy had a relationship with Chicken similar to that of her
own granddaughters, so I knew she just needed to blow off some steam. Chicken has now
been at the cafe for twelve years and is known far and wide. I cannot count the number of
times I have had people tell me what an asset she is to the cafe. My belief in "that #*&%
redhead" in 1994 has proven to be totally justified.
Song of the Day:
Creedence Clearwater Revival/Bad Moon Rising
Fast Food Headline of the Day:
Have It Your Way
October 13, 2006
It's a busy weekend in South Limestone County. Kosse is hosting its annual City-Wide
Garage Sale tomorrow, while the Kosse First United Methodist Church is presenting its 2006
Fall Bazaar. It is also homecoming weekend for Groesbeck High School. The Goats are
playing their cross-county rival Mexia. There should be quite an influx of people to the area.
A Mexia native has written a song which is beginning to get a significant amount of attention.
Click for article. It's deserving of a listen. Click for song.
The Falls County Tax Assessor/Collector has been indicted. Click for article. This is the
second employee of that office to be recently indicted.
Part IV: Roots of the Kosse Cafe
We had been in the grocery business in Kosse for two years at the time the cafe was
purchased. The clientele of the cafe was basically the same as the store so I begin asking
customers what suggestions they may have for improving the cafe. One suggestion I heard
from a number of people was to offer breakfast items all day. I could certainly understand this
sentiment. There have been many times I went to IHOP because of their breakfast all day
policy. Upon informing Peggy this would be the new protocol of the cafe, she immediately
started throwing up a wall of resistance. For some reason she could not tolerate the sight of
an egg cooking after 10:30 a.m. and let me know this in no uncertain terms. At that moment I
knew her ability to happily relinquish authority would be limited. The decision now became
whether to please the customers or mollify my manager. I chose the customers and the policy
was implemented. Peggy would end up working for me on and off for the next eight years, and
she never did learn to love the smell of bacon cooking after 10:30 in the morning. To this day
the Kosse Cafe offers breakfast all day, and it is a consistent seller. For that matter a
customer can order anything they wish at anytime. If someone wants a hamburger at 6:00
a.m. they can get it. The decision to serve breakfast all day was the correct one. To be
continued in the next post of the Kosse Blog.
Song of the Day:
The Animals/House of the Rising Sun
Lucky Millionaire Headline of the Day:
Thank Goodness for Videos
October 11, 2006
Democratic Texas gubernatorial nominee Chris Bell is asking Kinky Friedman to drop out of
the governor's race because he is taking votes away from him and Governor Rick Perry. Click
for article. What?! Obviously Kinky is taking votes away from the two major party candidates.
That is the purpose of an independent candidacy! Kinky declined the magnanimous offer from
The war in Iraq is a mess. According to a report by John Hopkins University, 655,000 Iraqis
have died because of the war. Click for article. To put this in perspective, the population of
Iraq is slightly over 26 million (click for information), while the United States population is
almost exactly 300 million. In other words, the U.S. population is 11.5 times as large as Iraq's.
Extrapolating the figures, this would be the equivalent of over seven and a half million
(7,500,000) people being killed if the same proportion was occurring in the United States.
This equates to the total combined populations of Chicago, Houston, San Antonio, Dallas,
Waco, and Bryan/College Station. Can you imagine if every person in these cities were killed
within a three-year period? It is an unfathomable thought. No wonder 65% of Iraqis favor an
immediate pullout of American troops. Click for article.
Part III: Roots of the Kosse Cafe
The initial cleaning day at the cafe was a definite eye-opener. The first step was to move the
various pieces of furniture and equipment. It was obvious the heavier equipment pieces had
not been disturbed from their positions in months and possibly years. One of the refrigeration
units being used was an old Coca-Cola cooler circa 1950's. The dolly was placed under it and
we began pushing on it. In the middle of the four-foot move its bottom fell off and I was
suddenly left with a two piece Coke cooler. Fortunately I owned a large walk-in cooler at the
store and knew we would muddle through until the new cafe equipment arrived. The move of
the cooking equipment in the kitchen (oven, grill, fryers) would lend even further surprises.
Without getting too graphic, we were literally using shovels to remove the grease and other
deposits that had taken up residence. After a few hours of elbow grease the cafe was finally
beginning to take shape. It was the middle of June, hot as a firecracker, and obvious the air
conditioning capacity would need to be immediately increased. The cooling system consisted
of a thirty-year-old, three-ton central unit and four of five box fans strategically placed in
dining chairs throughout the building. The vent system was the type you would find in a
house, so its ability to remove the smoke and grease was extremely minimal. Between the
grease in the air and the box fans distribution of said grease, the cafe had acquired a
well-deserved reputation for leaving an odiferous reminder on customers' clothing. I knew
things would be changing when the vent and new equipment arrived. What would prove more
difficult would be changes in certain operational areas. I quickly realized I would face
resistance from the person I had put in place as manager, the former owner. To be continued
in the next post of the Kosse Blog.
Song of the Day:
Cream/Sunshine of Your Love
Saltwater Fish Video of the Day:
October 9, 2006
Part II: Roots of the Kosse Cafe
Upon informing Peggy we would purchase the cafe, she had an immediate request. She
asked if I would keep herself and her relatives as employees. I told her I was not planning to
replace any of the employees as continuity was important. Contracts for the impending sale
were drawn up and signed, and earnest money was put in place. This proved to be a wise
move as a few days later Peggy changed her mind and asked me to stop the process and
void the sale. She did not tell me why she was having second thoughts and I never found out
the reason. Irregardless, I had already contracted for new restaurant equipment and a vent
system and could not accede to her wish. The deal went through and we were now owners of
the newly-christened Kosse Cafe.
Peggy was quite a character. She was the unquestioned matriarchal authority within all
generations of her family, even down to the great-grandchildren. For years she was the
supreme ruler of the cafe and suddenly an outsider was taking control. Combining Peggy's
strong personality with my mentally-unbalanced personality, I knew she and I would be in for
some interesting moments. I would not be disappointed.
The Kosse Cafe did not open for business the first day of our ownership. Instead it was the
day of the first owner/staff meeting, followed by an afternoon of deep cleaning. As I walked
into the building with meeting notes in hand I had my first opportunity to see the entire staff.
They were sitting at tables talking amongst themselves. I already knew most of them and had
previously employed some at the grocery store. There was only one person I had never seen
before. This unknown person was a foot-and-a-half shorter than me, had flaming red hair, a
big grin on her face, and clothes that looked like Goodwill rejects. She told me to call her
Chicken. Upon my inquiry as to how she attained that name, I was informed it was due to her
walking style being similar to poultry in motion. The day would soon be an indicator of the fun
that lay ahead. To be continued in the next post of the Kosse Blog.
Song of the Day:
Serious Headline of the Day:
North Korea Claims Nuclear Test