At the end of travel diary one, I was going to a fancy cappuccino place. That establishment is called Persephone’s and it is in a sweet little white cottage on one of the main streets in Jackson. In addition to coffee drinks, they sell croissants, complicated French toast with fresh berries, complicated sandwiches, and boxed water. If you order the boxed water, or any cold, already packaged drink, they don’t just hand it to you when you’re paying. You pay and then stand off to the side and wait for it, as is often and appropriately done with coffee drinks. But the reason this is done with coffee drinks is that someone has to make them. Boxed water is pre-made. Prepackaged. That’s the whole point of it. Why, at Persephone’s, you wait for boxed water, or bottled mineral water (also prepackaged) I do not know.
Persephone’s is always mobbed. It is most favored by blonde women with TV hair and their balding husbands. These couples often have blonde children who enjoy “making soup” with sticks and dried leaves in the sweet shaded pockets provided by Persephone’s ornamental trees and shrubbery. It’s also extremely popular with yellow labs, who, when not resting in the shade of marble-topped outdoor tables, enjoy digging in the grey stones covering the patio area. The children enjoy this too.
As I sat there drinking my cappuccino and eating toast on my first visit, trying not to lose my mind due to the unceasing crunching of gravel, a woman asked her daughter, point blank, “How are we going to punish you today? What about no sweets?” Next to us a middle-aged French guy in a T-shirt reading “C’est ne pas un surfboard” was waiting for something – a box of water? He was handsome and seemed to know this. A 12-year old blonde kid with a wool hat pulled low over his scandalously beautiful face whined to his mother “There’s no more of that THINGGGGG.”
“It’s OK,” she said. “I promise.”
People will tell you when you come to Jackson you can’t miss the Snake River, you can’t miss the rodeo, you can’t miss Yellowstone. But really, what you absolutely must do, above all else, is get to Persephone’s on a day after they have opened (7 a.m.) but before they put out their pastries (literally 15 minutes later) because on those mornings when the goodies don’t make it out quickly enough and there’s nothing but a plain white counter to greet them people go apeshit.
“Where are the pastries?”
“How are we supposed to know what to get if we can’t see the pastries?”
“Is – there – a reason – the pastries – aren’t out yet?”
It’s so easy to complain about Persephone’s, to make fun of its clientele, the cozy corner shelf where coffees are neatly placed, and the bulletin board in the hallway outside the bathroom where visitors post their hopes and dreams.
Easy to complain, hard to stay away. One wonders if Hades ever said the same of the original Persephone? I have only been in Jackson for three days and I have been here four times. I have had six coffees and three meals from this place, and it’s also where – God strike me dead – I am writing this very piece.
“It’s just really good,” Tor said. “Remember that sandwich? The one on the croissant, with the bacon, and the aioli? That sandwich was really good.”