THE COUNTRY MOUSE AND SIX YELLOW CHAIRS (Central Pennsylvania, 2013)

As a little girl, I loved the fable of the town mouse and the country mouse. I was, and remain, a country mouse from rural Pennsylvania, but I loved to visit all those town mice living in distant cities. What excitement there was to be had: museums, stores, restaurants, attractions, music, variety! How curious it was to me that, every summer, families from my little town hosted New York City children through a program that provided those town mice with what was intended to be an unforgettable week in the country, complete with fresh air, county fairs, picnics, sandlot baseball games, hiking, and wildlife fun.  Human nature being what it is, I longed for what country life seemed to lack, while those kids looked forward to seeing sights the city could not provide.

In adulthood, I realized that happiness is not tied to geography, and that living in a small town doesn’t make one a small person.  Admittedly, we country mice might not find a bistro or boutique on every corner–if that’s what one desires–but there are little treasures in unexpected places.  Yesterday, I had lunch at Six Yellow Chairs, a cafe and gift shop located in the unlikely town of Lanse, Pennsylvania.  The owners and operators are local young people with the desire to do something special right here at home–and what they’ve done is special indeed!

Six Yellow Chairs, Cafe and Gift Room in Lanse, PA

Six Yellow Chairs, Cafe and Gift Room in Lanse, PA

In Pennsylvania, the first day of spring might be sunshiny bright or gray as granite.  And since the weather served up a colorless March 20, we decided a treat was in order.  Six Yellow Chairs is situated in a renovated home/ business front; the look is quaint, and the parking is convenient.

Once inside, the inspiration for such a unique name becomes apparent.  The focal point of  the main dining area, which seats up to 30, is a large, vintage table flanked by six ornate, bright yellow chairs.

Six Yellow Chairs main dining area, with the faux fireplace decorated for spring.

Six Yellow Chairs’ main dining area, with the faux fireplace decorated for spring.

Surrounding this  table are several smaller tables, each with its own set of chairs, and draped with crisp, white linens.  The decor is friendly, artsy, and interesting, with colorful pieces that pop against white walls.  Six Yellow Chairs is clearly a labor of love, and there are surprising touches to be seen everywhere.

Another view of Six Yellow Chairs' main dining area

Another view of Six Yellow Chairs’ main dining area

There is no printed menu at Six Yellow Chairs; diners will find the day’s selections written on the chalkboard.   Chef offers two soups, two salads, two entrees, and two desserts at a time, and changes the menu regularly.  I’d suggest calling ahead to hear what’s being served up on a particular day unless, of course, you’d rather be surprised when you get there–which would be fun, too!

The menu changes regularly, and offering are written on a large chalkboard.

The menu changes regularly, and offering are written on a large chalkboard.

With St. Patrick’s Day so recently passed, Chef was preparing corned beef with buttered cabbage on garlic mashed potatoes–yummy!  But I chose the second entree: sweet potato ravioli with roasted mushrooms and bacon.  The meal was generously portioned, served quickly, and beautifully

Beautifully presented in substantial white dinnerware

Beautifully presented in substantial white dinnerware

presented in substantial white dinnerware with utensils that felt heavy–not flimsy or cheap.   It’s amazing how having the food plated this way adds value and atmosphere–not to mention a perfect display for the for the chef’s fine and colorful meals.

Sweet potato ravioli with roasted mushrooms and bacon

Sweet potato ravioli with roasted mushrooms and bacon

Although the portions were satisfying, my friend and I saved room for dessert.  On the menu was a blueberry tart and fresh apple pie with homemade maple ice cream.  It was the tart that

Blueberry tart for dessert

Blueberry tart for dessert

called out to me, a treat which tasted every bit as good as it looked.  The tart shell was tender, the blueberries vibrant, and the dollop of whipped cream with mint leaves made a perfect garnish.

After lunch, we climbed the staircase (delightfully papered with vintage sheet music) to visit the gift room, filled with an ever-changing collection of unique items provided by local artisans.  The gifts are cleverly displayed, and needless to say, different from what might be expected in more traditional small town shops.

Handmade jewelry and purses

Handmade jewelry and purses

Unique jewelry made from vintage elements

Unique jewelry made from vintage elements

Adorable stuffed bunnies

Adorable stuffed bunnies

Small handbags, so colorful and fun!

Six Yellow Chairs also offers custom floral arrangements, designed and made on the premises by the owners.  Yes, the establishment truly is a labor of love—a business, to be sure, but more:  Six Yellow Chairs is a place for those who love creativity, craftwork, aesthetics, little surprises, and a town mouse experience in a country mouse setting.

Dried flower arrangements are among the gift offerings

Dried flower arrangements are among the gift offerings

Six Yellow Chairs  Cafe/Florist/Gift Room is located at 30 Knox Run Road, Lanse, Pennsylvania.  It is currently open most days from 7:00 am to 3:00 pm, with plans to expand the menu to include dinners.  Special occasions at Six Yellow Chairs can be arranged with help from the owners.  Note:  Six Yellow Chairs depends upon word-of-mouth advertising, so visit the Facebook page and spread the good news!

The best testimony I can give is this:  I only visited Six Yellow Chairs two days ago, and I’m already planning a return trip.

Enjoy!

~lisa

Advertisements

BULLSH*T BINGO

Rainy days bring out my puckish side.  So with my yard sale postponed due to scattered showers, I amused myself by watching reruns of Gilmore Girls and making up a retail version of Bullsh*t Bingo.  This one goes out to everyone who works retail—feel free to share!

*click to enlarge*

Tomorrow, it’s back to the yard sale.

I HATE PEOPLE, AND YOU CAN TOO!

Ugly baby judges you.

I’m a people person.  Really.  I love people.  I make eye contact, I touch your arm (or something)  while I chat amiably, I flirt shamelessly, I talk directly to children— not over them—and I freely give out my cell number.  I don’t care what color your hair is, what you’ve had pierced or tattooed, how much you weigh, or which gender makes you all tingly.  I’ll laugh at your jokes and try to make you laugh in return. 

That said, people p*ss me off sometimes.  The last few days I have dealt with a parade of ass clowns in monkey suits, and I’ve encountered so many d*ckheads I should be allowed to hand out little condom-shaped hats.* 

Item:  In an attempt to alleviate my admittedly p*ssy mood, I went shopping for a new purse.  Don’t judge me; I’m a girl.  Anyway, I found myself holding a fabulous, bright blue bag at a store which shall remain nameless, but whose initials are JCP.  This bag was so cute I could die.  The only problem with this fabulous, bright blue bag of wonder was that it’s smaller than what I usually carry. 

Behind the accessories counter, the sales clerk was moving merchandise like a champ.  He oohed and aahed at every watch strapped onto a wrist,  congratulated every redneck on having the good taste to choose such an obviously fine piece of jewelry for the wife or the girlfriend, and pushed credit applications like a weed dealer at a Dave Matthews concert.  I just knew he could help me make my decision.

I waited until the sales clerk was free, then approached with my own purse in one hand and the bright blue object of my desire in the other.  “Excuse me,” I began, “I have a dilemma.”

“Yes, of course,” said Mr. Sales Clerk. ” How can I help you today?”   His cheerfulness was a good sign, so I pushed on.

“Well, I just love this bag, but it’s smaller than what I usually carry.  So I was wondering if I could—”

“Oh no,” he interrupted.  “I can’t let you put your things into that bag.  Someone else might want to buy that bag.”  And he pressed one hand to his chest as if to quiet his suddenly palpitating heart.  So abrupt and final was his response, that I was caught just staring for a moment. 

“You must understand,” Mr. Sales Clerk said by way of clarification, “I simply cannot let you put your things into that bag and then possibly sell it to someone else.”  He spat out the syllables to rid his mouth of their nastiness.    He also spoke loudly enough to attract the attention of  another customer—a man wearing a Free Moustache Rides t-shirt and a Pittsburgh Steelers cap—and pronounced the words your things in such a way as to suggest that my things were a bit of roadkill, a used adult diaper, and a cracked vial of smallpox. 

Now I’ll admit I was without makeup and dressed simply in a plain top and a pair of denim shorts.  But I was clean, wearing about $8,000 worth of diamond rings on my left hand, and had come into the store carrying my own handbag of the same name brand I was attempting to buy.  In my opinion, I presented myself as a shopper equal to the standards of such an elite establishment as JCP.  Perhaps I would have looked less suspicious if I’d worn a Milwaukee Vibrator t-shirt and a cowboy hat.

In his defense, Mr. Sales Clerk offered to hold the fabulous blue bag open so I could visually inspect the inside.  He directed me toward other blue bags that were bigger, and possibly even more fabulous.  And I played along, although we both knew the sale had gone into the crapper the moment I first said, “Excuse me.”   We dragged out the ruse just long enough to suggest to each other that there were no hard feelings in the matter, but as I examined the alternate handbags my mind rattled off a list of points I wished to make:

~ He could have offered to line the blue bag with tissue paper or a plastic shopping bag to protect it from whatever creepy-crawlies might be transferred there by my wallet, checkbook, makeup case, and cell phone.  I would gladly have accepted such a condition.

~ Although my things were obviously too gross to place inside a purse I did not yet own, I could leave the accessories counter and go to the shoe department where I could place my feet inside shoes I had no intention of buying.  I could go to the dressing room and try on all manner of clothing—I could even strap my sweaty breasts into a bra, then return it to the rack for some other customer to choose.  And what guarantee did I have that the bra had never been on another woman’s body before mine?  Was the purchase of a handbag somehow more personal and intimate than shoes or lingerie?

~ Most obviously, I could simply buy the handbag, take it home and try to fit my things into it, and bring it back to JCP, where the clerks at the returns desk would gladly process my return and place the bag back on the shelf.  Hell, if I wanted to, I could bring the bag home, use it to transport egg shells to the compost heap, and then return it to the store.  Not that I would ever do that.

But I did not say any of those things, and  I hold no grudge against Mr. Sales Clerk, who was just doing his job as he saw it at the moment.  Since I’m currently working in retail, I’m familiar with patrons who view themselves as above me because I stand behind—not in front of—the counter.  I simply smile at those customers and think to myself, “Go ahead and act superior, Chuckles, but I could kill you with my brain.”   And I feel no guilt in telling my side of the story here, as I just know the minute I was out of hearing distance, Mr. Sales Clerk turned to his nearest coworker and described his encounter with some stupid white trash woman who thought she should be able to try out the size of a handbag before she took it home.  The nerve!  The scandal! 

Speaking of nervy, scandalous customers, would now be a good time to mention the customer who brought his (pet, not service) dog into the store where I work—a dog which then relieved itself of what I can only imagine was a large breakfast of Mexican food, right there in the middle of aisle 17?

So I hate people today.  And I hate myself the most, because I’ve decided I’m going back later for that fabulous, bright blue handbag.  Don’t judge me.

*This was my facebook status last night, and it inspired today’s post.  Clearly, my mood has been a bit dicey.