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February 13, 2008
SMALL TOWN LIFE
Regulars bid a fond farewell to Buzzy?s
|Buzzy Franklin displays the sign touting the various omelets that made his Greenwater diner a popular stop for more than 25 years.|
|Photo by John Leggett photo|
ENUMCLAW, Washington (STPNS) -- After more than a quarter-century of serving meals to ski and mountain types from all over the world, Buzzy?s Greenwater Café has closed its doors.
Proprietor Buzzy Franklin said ?a non-negotiable situation? left him no recourse but to terminate his lease, effective Jan. 31.
?Certain things, out my control, that have transpired around here since the first of the year, have swayed this fat old rat?s decision to jump ship,? the longtime Enumclaw resident said.
During his many years at the café, Franklin said, he made many good friends and could fill several volumes with true tales that absolutely could not be made up.
For example, he still remembers the sweltering summer day when he was toiling over a hot grill and heard a gunshot echo from the restroom. ?The guy was hiking up his trousers and his firearm accidentally discharged,? Franklin said. ?The slug from the bullet went right through his lower thigh and directly into the floor and we had a bullet hole to talk about in our restroom floor.
?Such is the stuff that mountain folklore is made of.?
On another occasion, Franklin?s daughter and one of the waitresses saw a man approaching the café in a short robe, army boots and nothing else but a distraught expression on his mug. ?The poor fellow, who we now refer to simply as the Naked Wanderer, was walking across the pass in hopes of hitching his way to the Tri-Cities, but who in the hell was going to pick him up looking like that?
?At any rate, he was severely dehydrated. He collapsed on our front yard and the girls got him something to eat and drink,? Franklin said. ?Also, thank goodness, Deb across the street at Wapiti Woollies got him some clothes.?
As Franklin regaled a visitor with these anecdotes from his café?s fabled past, his pals were helping move everything out, including the thousand pieces of wallpaper that included multi-colored currency from Mexico, Canada, Japan and Europe.
Jennifer Menzel, a waitress at the café for decades, agreed with one of the gentlemen movers, who mentioned how weird it would seem without Buzzy around.
?It is going to be a very sad and dark place indeed,? she said.
?The thing I will always remember most about Buzzy, is the wonderful way he had with children; kids just loved him,? Menzel continued. ?No matter what he was doing or how busy he was, he would drop everything, give them a big old bear hug and ask them if they wanted Mickey Mouse pancakes.?
Franklin, traces his ancestral roots back to Benjamin Franklin?s brother, grew up in Leavenworth, Wash., the son of a logger/inventor, and has always loved the great outdoors, especially fishing and hunting. ?My father, Phillip Franklin, died when I was 8 years old, but he was a great inventor and one hell of a lumberjack as well,? Franklin said.
Aside from his business endeavors, Franklin?s father was responsible for a nickname that stuck.
?He would come back from his business trips with presents for my mother and I,? Franklin said. ?According to my mother, I would always bust open the wrapping and boxes holding the gifts and he would say, ?Aren?t you the busting little bugger.? My uncle changed it to Buster, my mom changed it to Buzzy ? and Buzzy was the handle that stuck.?
With his doors locked for the final time, Franklin said he would give himself 30 days off and, following that, ?I am open to suggestions.?
The last time Franklin faced a career change, the opportunity came fast and furious.
?Before I opened the cafe in 1982, I was a logger and I didn?t know diddly squat about the restaurant business,? he said. ?But this opportunity presented itself and after a three-day training session I jumped in with both feet and got my baptism by fire.?
Franklin leaves knowing his customers were always satisfied.
?I think people liked coming in here,? he said. ?As small an operation as we had here, I remember one day that we cleared $1,800. People never seemed to mind the cold, either. It was 26 degrees outside that day and there were people actually eating under our outdoor gazebo, because there was no more room in the dining area,? he said with a chuckle as he walked down memory lane one last time.
John Leggett can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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