The Island Café, c. 1985 was a dive in “beautiful downtown Minocqua”
serving six scoopable flavors of ice cream, counter seating, plastic booths
with vinyl backing. Pancakes and eggs and sausage and bacon for fisherman.
By 1992, Dad had to get coffee down the road toward Woodruff, a place
still using vinyl seating, but with more windows and a mural of deer poised
in the snow, the phrase I come here to find myself painted below their hooves.
Now that it’s the 21st century, there’s Tula’s. It’s still further out, by Trig’s
and WalMart. They serve pancakes as big around as a lampshade. Under Tiffany
style fixtures, the brass railings and discreet carpet let us know we’ve arrived.
Still, I’m remembering the sticky-back seats, the rickety window air-conditioning
units, the ice cream, and the mural, all swirling together into one long vacation
breakfast, from which, and to which, there is no returning.
Alina Borger writes and teaches in Iowa City, IA. Her work has appeared most recently in The Mom Egg Review, Stirring, and Softblow. Her chapbook, Tuesday’s Children is forthcoming from Hermeneutic Chaos Press. You can find her cheering for soccer matches between her boys, curling up with a book and a mug of tea, or online at www.alinaborger.com.