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the real Nanty Glo in My Mind'

The cafe

Jon Kennedy  

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Diplomacy is the art of saying "Nice doggie" until you can find a rock.

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Jon Kennedy's recent book, The Everything Guide to C.S. Lewis and Narnia, from Adams Media, F&W Publications, is available for purchase in support of the Liberty Museum in Nanty Glo and can be ordered here. It is also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and in Kindle and Nook ebook editions.

JONAL ENTRY 1248 | August 23 2012

I've written earlier about how Nanty Glo's cafe society influenced my formative years. Part of the reason for its influence was that although I've never lived in Nanty Glo (residing out in the boonies in my high school and college years), I wanted to spend the better parts of my days here from age 15 to 22 and the town's cafes (and later Sparky Millward's garage, and later still the Journal offices) made doing that possible. To me, Nanty Glo has always been a place to meet friends, socialize, and reflect with them on the day's topics and the issues of life. The many places selling sodapop and coffee, with tables to sit and sip, facilitated that "in the day."

But fast forward to the second decade of century 21, and for a while Nanty Glo had narry a cafe left to sit and sip at, but now that has been remedied by the Liberty Cafe in the heart of town. And what a hangout it is, with something to appeal to most tastes and ages, from silver-haired history buffs like me to sports fans to pre-teen video gamers and viewers of Nickleodeon cartoons, from solitary readers of novels and nonfiction to computer users looking for free wifi to catch up on their email or work on their laptops or those wanting to use PCs available by the hour, to kaffeeklatchers, to Bible study or school homework discussion groups.

Coffees and teas are available in a wide range of flavors and configurations, along with an array of cold soft drinks and energy drinks. Breakfast comestibles include pastries (cinnamon rolls, danishes) and blueberry muffins. Hot lunch items include hot dogs (no extra charge for chilli, cheese, or sauerkraut) and hot or sweet sausage sandwiches, plain or smothered in grilled onions and green peppers.

The cafe is open until 9 o'clock every night and customers of Marlene's pizza across the alleyway are invited to bring their pies to the cafe to eat with a beverage at one of the cafe's round tables (Marlene's is take-out only and doesn't sell beverages). Galliker's ice cream treats (cones, cups, sundaes, milk shakes, floats and sodas) are our most popular items this season. Other snacks include candy bars, brownies, penny candy, lollipops, beef jerky and Slim Jims, gum, nuts, Cracker Jacks, popcorn (both already popped and ready to pop in the cafe microwave), chips, challenge pickles, hot balogna and probably more.

A couple members of the Nickelodeon generation use cafe computers.

Being a project to raise funds for the Liberty Museum, of course the cafe is decorated with many collectible items, photographs, and framed news reports about earlier days, and it has shelves of vintage yearbooks from Valley high schools and many volumes of collected research files (including binders on individual churches, parades, sports, and each town in the Valley). It also has maps and brochures about the Ghost Town Trail for hikers and bikers, as well as literature about other attractions of interest to tourists in the area. A variety of publications are also available to buy, including the Journal, the Tribune-Democrat, Johnstown magazine, and Trader's Guide. And besides hundreds of books that can be read here or traded for volumes you bring in, to read at home or on the way, there are puzzles and table games that can help a family or group wile away rainy afternoons or snowy evenings.

Besides everything already listed, the items carried by the Liberty Museum gift store (T-shirts, caps, keychains, my most recent books, note cards, Our Town videos, Life in the Valley CDs, and other items) are available at the cafe and it offers copying and longer printing jobs, faxing, and laminating. The staff are always willing to help with using the computers and the Internet and help research on family trees or other local history. Through the cafe, the Historical Society is always in touch with the community, by one-on-one contact between those who come in and the staff and the board (almost all of whom serve in the regular volunteer staff rotation). The cafe building is under 24-hour security surveillance by cameras both inside and outside.

In summary, after being here almost daily since June 11, I'm convinced the Liberty Cafe is the best idea to come to Nanty Glo in some time. If you haven't been in yet, I hope you'll do so over this weekend, our official grand opening. And if you've already had a look around, please come to see what's new and to take another and closer look. The ribbon cutting is set for 9 a.m. Saturday; there will be food specials on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, prizes to be won, and a free band performance (by One Adam 12) from 7 to 9 p.m on Monday, August 27. Be there or be square.

Webmaster Jon Kennedy

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