COTUIT – Thursday morning, the six men sitting around the table in the side room at the Cotuit Fresh Market, aka The Coop, were in high spirits. Cranky, but spirited.
“We’re picking apart a new restaurant,” said one of the men, who said his name is “Clem Kadiddlehopper.”
This one was laced with levity.
Five of the men, who on this day were joined by one visitor, meet at The Coop for coffee every morning.
This particular morning their talk was focused on a new boating club’s eatery in East Falmouth.
“The admission price is too high,” Kadiddlehopper continued. “It’s a very exclusive club.”
He said he couldn’t remember the name, so one of the other gentlemen quipped, “McDonald’s was it?”
Laughter all around.
The “McDonald’s” man said he wanted to remain anonymous. More anonymous than Kadiddlehopper? It did not seem possible.
Many in the group are boaters, so Kadiddlehopper said the idea of a place that caters to the boating crowd intrigued them.
“Now that we’ve been thrown out of all the others,” Bob Burlingame said.
Mr. Burlingame said a reporter could use his name. “My child support’s paid up.”
Then talk turned to the plans for the new Hyannis Fire Station, which conceptual drawings show at three times the size of the current station and costing $25 million. An article on the project had run in the daily paper that day.
The men said they felt the project was overly grand.
“Along with the Hanging Gardens of Babylon,” the man called “McDonald’s” said.
“It will be the eighth wonder of the world,” said another one of the men, who also wanted to remain anonymous and who shall be now known in this article as “Eighth Wonder.”
He said the witness protection program precludes him from identifying himself to a reporter.
“And each firefighter will get his own automobile,” Kadiddlehopper said.
When it was pointed out that the article did not mention that every firefighter will get a car, Kadiddlehopper shook his head at the naivete of the questioner. “It’s between the lines,” he said.
“Apparently there will be a sunroom in the weight room,” “Eighth Wonder” said.
Peter “Fish House” Baxter, as if to point out that the past few remarks might not be valid, said, “Rumors go around this table.”
“Fish House” got his nickname because he shares a last name with a well-known waterfront restaurant on Hyannis Harbor.
“McDonald’s” went on to list the amenities of the fire station: Viking rangers in the kitchen, masseuses on payroll.
Baxter is the only one of the men who does not live in Cotuit. He lives 200 feet from the village line, in Mashpee.
When the men were asked if they share a political persuasion, “McDonald’s” joked, “We let a few Republicans in.”
“Eighth Wonder” said, “Same as Presbyterians,” apparently referencing the Republicans just mentioned.
Also referencing Republicans, Baxter said, “I think the reverse is true.”
“We’re fascists,” said the sixth man at the table, who also wanted to remain anonymous.
“If my parole officer saw me with this group, I’d be back inside,” he said.
Burlingame clarified. “Anything but liberals,” he said.
Sitting at the end of the table, taking in the talk, was Tom Fahey, who was visiting Cotuit from Maui in Hawaii. He said he has a lot of family who live in the town of Barnstable and he likes the summer weather here.
“It’s a chance for him to get out of Asia,” Kadiddlehopper said.
Kadiddlehopper said the group sometimes gets raucous.
“We’ve had fistfights in here. You ought to see us after 7 PM,” he said.
After 7 PM at The Coop?
“We’re at the methadone clinic,” he clarified.
–Laura M. Reckford