Every day between 7 and 9 a.m., the self-proclaimed “Outlook Farm gang” ?gathers.
Mismatching tables and chairs, along with a wrap-around wooden countertop, form the meeting ground. Wooden walls give way to caged, country-style windows, and a portrait of John Wayne overlooks the dining area.
Judging from the gang’s display of morning moxie, I’d recommend best behavior when sitting next to the one wielding the wooden spoon. It’s the spoon – in the hands of Don Sicard – which informs staff where to deliver breakfast. The gang raves about the food, but their morning get-togethers are clearly about more
than good food.
Jean Webster, 71, of Westhampton — the gang refers to her as the “president” — removes her brown and black fleece cap with a brim. “You like my hat,” she says to Don Blakesly, sitting next to her.
“It looks like something you picked up from the side of the road and put on your head,” he responds.
Around 8, a crowd of five gathers around a central table. Their boisterous banter fills the relatively empty space. Patrons on a tighter schedule come in and out, grabbing a quick coffee and casting a curious eye towards the growing gang of retirees in the corner.
Just as Kenny Blow of Westhampton enters, Webster and Louise Jasionkowski stand up and start shuffling chairs around. Worried the ladies might be heading out, Blow yells: “I come in and everybody’s leaving?!”
“No,” Webster and Jasionkowski exclaim in unison, “we’re just shifting to more comfortable chairs!”
Webster explains that the gang meets daily in two shifts — one at 7 a.m. and one at 8 a.m. By 9 a.m., about a dozen people fill the small space.
“We’re in and out of here all day,” says Mike Robbins, 55, of Westhampton. “We have a lot of fun in here.”
Don Sicard, a regular of the early shift, makes a return visit with his daughter, Jessica, around 9 a.m. “Look who’s back,” the whole room seems to yell at once.
“I’ve been coming here for 20 years,” says Sicard. I used to live in the trailer back there and come here to get warm — it was the only place in town to get breakfast.”
Through my whole visit, nearly everyone in the room says at one point or another, “You missed Rick and Amy,” or “You gotta meet Rick and Amy.”
At around 9:20, Rick and Amy Record walk in to shouts from the room: “Are you guys late or what?!”
“It’s getting harder and harder to get up,” says Rick Record, laughing.
Record, of Easthampton, says the trek — which he makes most mornings — is always worthwhile.
“We always have a good time,” Record says. “And the bacon. Have you tried the bacon here? You can’t beat it.”•