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The Two Sisters' Cafe
by Elena Yates Eulo and Samantha Harper Macy

Published: 2010
Hardcover : 0 pages
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Two Sister's Cafe, by Elena Yates Eulo and Samantha Harper Macy, is a novel abouth the mysterious happenings inside a second-chance Fifties restaurant. This adult faerie tale, set in a small town cafe, celebrates the community, humor, and down home wisdom of rural America while honoring traditions ...
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Two Sister's Cafe, by Elena Yates Eulo and Samantha Harper Macy, is a novel abouth the mysterious happenings inside a second-chance Fifties restaurant. This adult faerie tale, set in a small town cafe, celebrates the community, humor, and down home wisdom of rural America while honoring traditions of Western Magic, both ancient and New Age.

Editorial Review

No editorial review at this time.


The next night the joint was jumping, and the jukebox was at full

blast. Saturday nights were wild of late. Alma, clearing a table of

empty plates to make room for dessert, caught Vannie’s eye at the

next table, from where she was serving a round of Coca-Cola along with

glasses of ice. She nodded at a certain paper bag she had just laid on the

tray alongside the plates prior to setting down several dishes of cobbler.

Vannie raised an eyebrow. It was plain to see that a new brand of illegal

brown paper bag, adorned by a pair of intertwined “C’s,” was circulating

under The Two Sisters’ tables.

“C’s indeed,” Alma chuckled, holding up the confiscated bag as Vannie

and she met by the jukebox. She pointed to the smudges of ink from the

pen Cleatis had used to add class to his business. “That Cleatis since he remembered

how to write. Well, come on, Sister, you’d better build a row of

pimento cheese sandwiches, and two more of ham and chicken salad. I’ll

get some fresh coffee going and put burgers and onions on the grill. Beat

’cha round the turn, Sister!”

Challenge no sooner hurled than accepted. Vannie tore past her with

Alma in hot pursuit.

“Crazy bitches,” Banshee grumbled as they almost knocked his cage

off the top step, each trying to elbow the other out of contention as they

scuffled past him. Vannie flew down the steps and around the counter and managed to get her toe past the kitchen archway a second before Alma’s

foot landed squarely on top of it, her squawking “Foul! Foul!” as Vannie

jerked her foot free and pushed her way into the kitchen.

“You cheated,” Alma snapped. “That bird got in the way.”

As the night wore on, the town drinkers became still more rambunctious.

While the sisters dealt with food, drink, and dishes, a group of young

men sneaked out to where Vannie had banished Banchee’s cage to the courtyard.

The rowdy group of four slipped liquor into the parrot’s tin cup and

got the old bird drunk; then full of what they had done, they took him to

LaGrange just before midnight and left him at Fourth and Main to direct

traffic. The bird had a fine time cussing everyone who happened by on

wheels or foot at that late hour, and wore out every vile word he knew on

the preacher’s son, who was the one to bring him back to the café at 2:00

a.m. where the joint was still jumping.

Moments after Banshee’s return it happened. Nobody but the sisters

heard the sudden sound like the CREAAKKK of a rusty gate opening. Vannie

and Alma paused on their way to the dining room, each casual under

the weight of several loaded trays they carried overlapping up and down

their arms. It was a feat of balance that would have been more admired if

the two hadn’t executed it with such ease.

The CREEE-AAAKKK grew louder. No one noticed the sisters as they

exchanged glances, each realizing that a door had just opened in a mind

almost thirty miles away in an apartment in Louisville, as a reporter by the

name of Loretta Smith tossed fitfully in her sleep.

“Who woulda’ thunk it?” Vannie whispered to Alma. “All because of

a parrot getting drunk and using a little salty language.”

“One ripple on a stream,” Alma returned, “changes the whole state of

the world, don’t ’cha know?” The sisters continued to listen as a murmur

came to them, carried on the wings of telepathy. They sent back their own

message in response, then Alma nodded. “It’s done.”

“Yes, Sister. She accepted our invitation.”

“I guess we need her as much as she needs us. We must make sure to have Sarah here when she comes. Hmmm. I do believe there’s a holiday

scheduled on Monday. Administration business between teachers and the

school board, isn’t that so?”

“Now that you mention it.”

The sisters solemnly continued on their way.

Banshee slept most all day Sunday, and by late Monday morning when

Loretta Smith had left Louisville behind her and was nearing the café, he

was still in one of his moods.

“Look at him,” Alma said, lounging on the last stool at the counter

only a foot or so from the two steps leading to the dining room. The birdcage

was on the top step, settled among a mess of soggy seeds and spilled

Coca-Cola from one of Banchee’s two tin cups that he had upended.

“He’s being the worst possible slob today,” Vannie observed, leaning

against the end of the counter by her sister and sipping from a bottle of frosty

root beer.

“I never seen him so droopy before,” Sarah said. She sat beside the cage

on the top step holding a canister of sunflower seeds on her lap and patiently

poked fresh seeds into Banchee’s cup, even as he made grumpy sounds in

his throat. The bird’s monster hangover had left him at his surly worst.

“Limp as mashed squash.” Vannie put down her root beer and began

to wipe down the counter, shining up the shakers and the sugar canisters

as she went. “The old coot won’t put out the energy to get better. He takes

his stubbornness after you, Sister.”

“Oh, ho, look who’s talking,” Alma snorted. “You have been hardheaded

since you were a girl . . .”

“Oh, come now, Missy. You've always been the know-it-all.”

“How can you tell? You never let me get a word in edgewise.”

“What a convenient point of view, Sister . . .”

They paused as a white Plymouth pulled off the narrow country road

and inched toward the café to park facing the window. An unsmiling

woman in her late twenties emerged from the driver’s side. Every inch of her boxy figure was a stop sign to humanity.

“This won’t be easy,” Vannie said as the woman marched toward the

front door with briefcase in hand, a camera case swinging from her shoulder.

“I like challenges.” Alma leaned over the cage and poked a sunflower

seed from Sarah’s canister at the parrot. “And to think, Banshee, you

helped bring her to us.”

Banshee looked at the sisters, who gazed back lovingly, and uttered a

hoarse expletive, followed by “Get out of here, old bitches.”

At a look from Alma, Sarah covered her ears, though she’d heard far

worse in her own home. “How did Banshee help?” She broke off when the

front door swung open on a fresh blast of expletives from the bird, causing

her to cover her ears again.

Loretta Smith, coming through the door, cast a matter-of-fact glance

at the degenerate bird. He had never looked worse. His color was dull, his

beak stained, and his feathers hung on him like an old man’s skin. “So, it’s

true,” she said. “He does cuss like a sailor.”

The sisters chuckled appreciatively.

“Frankly,” Vannie confided, “you haven’t heard anything yet.”

The sisters came forward to shake hands with the woman with short

dark hair and eyes that were whiskey-colored and contrary as a wayward

wind. Every inch of her was disciplined arrogance, save only for her fingernails,

painted with clear polish and buffed, but bitten to the quick.

“I’m Loretta Smith,” the out-of-towner said briskly. “From The


“Ah, the big paper,” Alma said. “Sister, we’re being visited by a real


“It seems your bird piqued my editor’s interest. He got a call from a

local resident about the traffic light incident. I suppose it’s true? Yes, I can

believe it now that I see him.” Eyeing the bird, she set the briefcase on the

counter and removed a camera. “I wouldn’t usually be assigned something

like this . . .”

“You’re probably used to working on far more important stories,”

Vannie suggested.

“Yes, but apparently the paper has grown desperate.”

“Probably not enough murders and mutilations lately,” Alma said.

“You don’t mind if I take a few pictures? The light isn’t very good, but

that’s where he usually sits, I guess?” Loretta aimed her camera, and the

bird spit an expletive at her as a flashbulb exploded in his eyes. “If you

don’t mind my saying so, that bird should be confiscated by the Board of

Health.” She snapped another picture.

“I doubt the Board of Health would have him,” Alma said. She opened

the drink cooler and began moving the cold bottles of soda to the front, in

preparation for replenishing the case. The child rose from the step and

moved to the open cooler, bending over to help arrange the bottles.

“Your names, please?”

“Alma and Vannie May,” Alma said obligingly. “And this is Sarah Curtis,

our apprentice.”

The reporter’s eyebrows rose at the word “apprentice,” but she didn’t

bother a comment. Instead, she wrote in a small notebook she had removed

from her briefcase. “A-L-M-A and V-A-N-N-I-E, not Vanessa?”

Vannie shrugged. “I answer to either. But then you have a nickname,

too, don’t you? Lorrie, isn’t it?”

The out-of-towner’s gaze shifted to her. “How did you know that? I

haven’t been called Lorrie for years.”

“Isn’t it a common name, dear?”

“I don’t think so, not really.” With a brief flicker of an eyelash, Loretta

terminated her interest and moved about the room taking notes as to where

and when the incident had happened, who had been involved, the café, the

bird, and the small town atmosphere. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw

the apprentice and Vannie hauling full cases of soda pop to the cooler, while

Alma loaded the new bottles behind the cold ones. “Tell me,” Loretta said.

“Just as a matter of curiosity, how do you stand it out here? There are no

conveniences, for God’s sake. No drugstore, no movie houses . . .” view abbreviated excerpt only...

Discussion Questions

1. What was the original cafe The Two Sisters' Cafe was derived from and why was the joy and the community found within its walls so necessary to write about?
2. Describe your life and the impact of meeting Samantha Harper Macy and how it led to this book.
3. How can this book impact the world of today?
4. What is The Two Sister's Café all about, and why did you and Elena choose to do it together?
5. How does the journey of the apprentice mirror your own?6. How are memories of your grandmother and your Southern roots connected to the mystical journeys that have found expression in The Two Sisters' Café?

Notes From the Author to the Bookclub

Note from the authors:

Why did we write the book? It probably started when we met as artists during the sixties while we were embracing the explosive and diverse ideas of that age and yet continued to honor our traditions. Our travels and the experiences we had during our separate lives fused into a story in our minds and became something we wanted to share. The two sisters represent the guides that come to all of us when we have eyes to see and ears to hear. Their apprentice Sarah is all of us as we begin our human journey toward trying to make sense out of the greatest enigma – life itself. Sarah shows the courage that makes it possible for us to survive the impossible and our fathomless love that dares to embrace the unlovable and to sometimes leave those we care about behind in hopes of contributing something we know not what. Along the way she encounters some quirky and surprising characters and comes face-to-face with the tragedies and the humor that are part and parcel of every journey on this planet. As a child she represents both the beginning of the human search for understanding and our naive belief that we can ever completely find it.

The Two Sisters’ Café is a myth and an allegory. As in life, not everything will be explained. Oh, don’t we all wish it were laid out so clearly? So it is that Sarah is like The Princes Of Serendip, compelled to learn without always understanding and to accept that mortal experience often falls below the radar of human thought. Like the princes it is her journey toward self-acceptance, her devotion to the highest love, and the fellowship along the way that are most important.

Book Club Recommendations

Member Reviews

Overall rating:
  "The Two Sisters Cafe"by lfpompei (see profile) 01/01/11

We won this book from this site and we were all excited to read it before it became a known quantity. I have a real thing for magical realism so I was primed to like it. There were varying opinions about... (read more)

  "The Two Sisters' Cafe"by marciae (see profile) 08/17/12

It was different for sure! It had its moments and some interesting characters, and I enjoyed the folksy humor. It was definitely an adult fairy tale, as advertised. It was a bit too weird for me, and... (read more)

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