Loved cafe owner diagnosed with cancer months after retiring
IT WAS the place to go in Laidley - full of 50s nostalgia and great food.
But the closure of the Eagle Rock cafe on March 31 last year left the Laidley community heartbroken.
It was a step into retirement, however owners Gary and Denise Morris haven't slowed down since saying goodbye to their business of 28 years.
In the past 12 months, Denise has won a battle with cancer, continued her work as organiser of the Chrome and Clutter retro festival and even found time for trip to New Zealand.
While the time was right for the couple to move on from the cafe, Denise said there were plenty of bittersweet memories.
"I miss all the chats to locals … (Gary) really misses the conversations and the cars," Denise said.
But just months after closing up - Denise received heartbreaking news - she was diagnosed with mouth cancer.
But nine months on, Denise is "fit as" once more, following a nine-hour operation to remove the tumour.
"I had a brilliant team down at the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital … they were absolutely fabulous," she said.
"I was smooth sailing from wo-to-go. They just made me so confident I couldn't feel bad about having cancer."
On top of her dream team of doctors, Denise said she had help from someone else.
"I've got the best guardian angel in the world," she laughed.
"I am so lucky because I could have had a lot of facial scars and I could have been talking through a machine. I can't tell you how lucky I am."
With life now running smoothly, Denise said she was looking forward to the end of the coronavirus lockdown to get our and enjoy some free time.
"(I want to) get out and do some dancing and not have to organise it," she said.
"Take the cars out for some drives."
The Morris' were also the driving force behind Laidley's annual Chrome and Clutter Retro Festival.
While this year's festival won't be going ahead, Denise is looking forward to next year when new organisers will take over from her.
"It'll be even better (next year)," she said.
And while Denise will still help out, she islooking forward to enjoying the festival for herself for a change.