As a writer/blogger/lover of words I spend time reading in a variety of formats. I love getting lost in a good book when I can but often I’m on the go so my phone offers opportunities to access many interesting things to read.
As in… I started reading an article one day by a local girl who has a blog. She was writing about local coffee shops.
Coffee. Well she had my attention. Tell me more.
As she opened up her post about the local shops she then backhandedly said she left out Starbucks ’cause we all know what that’s about. ( big chain coffee shop, no explanation needed, I guess)
I’m not unfamiliar with all the small local places. In fact last year when our Starbucks ( you are welcome for all the free advertisement here 😉 ) was under renovation I did my own independent coffee shop field trips.
Some standard. Some cool. Some eclectic. Some had great coffee, others not so impressive.
Her article addressed not just the coffee but the people in the shops and the staff who worked there.
I thought the article interesting as she listed various places and shared about the coffee and food she had tried.
I guess I understand how she might have not viewed Starbucks ( large mega coffee chain) as interesting, fun, or engaging as a local quaint spot. I have friends who frequently dismiss Starbucks as unworthy of patronage or attention.
I think she missed out not learning about our Starbucks. I think many local people miss the point too when they mock “big corporation coffee”.
Sometimes, it’s just not about the coffee.
Oh don’t misunderstand me here. I do love the coffee. Hot or cold I’ll take it.
Starbucks is mainly, convenient for me. But in the years I’ve been hanging out there the coffee is sometimes just an added bonus to the relationships that I’ve built with those who are there whether they are the baristas or the customers.
In a previous post I wrote for National Coffee Day https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2015/09/30/celebrating-coffee/ I talk about some of the people I’ve met and the encounters I’ve had.
Coffee and meeting people, engaging with other lives. It’s a rewarding experience.
The baristas I come to really care for and I hate it when they leave. I’m fortunate to keep up with so many of them after they head off to new adventures. I get to see them get married or start families, finish school or follow along with their life. Sometimes, my heart hurts for pain, struggles and loss they go through.
Then there are the familiar faces, the regulars, who are there. Ones you come to expect at certain times and who are there for various reasons. In the mornings it can be like a big family meeting with everyone hanging out for morning coffee.
Of course there are the random strangers that I get to have one time conversations with and that’s ok too. I often learn a lot about someone in a short time.. just a glimpse into another life.
One man that I wrote about in my last coffee post, an older man, who was old enough to be my dad, was one of the regulars I probably knew the longest there. He often asked me about my athletic shenanigans admiring me for what I did, challenging me when I needed challenged and wanting to see my medals after I had finished a race. He was one of the few people at the time who knew I was considering running a 50K.
I remember telling him ” it’s just such a long race. It scares me to think of doing it” he simply told me ” you can do it. Think of all you’ve done. Now you just need to get signed up. I want you to tell me you did the next time I see you.”
And the next time I saw him, I had registered.
He would ask about me and my family and I would tease him about not chasing wild women to which he’d laugh. I’d ask him if he was sure he didn’t want to go for a ride in my Charger and see how many seconds it took to get it from 0-60 mph… for some reason he always passed on that offer haha
Over the past few years he’s been up and down with health issues and we’ve all celebrated when he’d be back in for coffee in “his” chair having his iced coffee and bagel with cream cheese.
He was like the Patriarch of the place.
I was leaving one Sunday the week before Christmas when one of the men who took turns bringing him stopped me in the parking lot and delivered the news to me.
He had passed away that morning in his home.
I was heart broken. I had just seen him the day before. The tears freely fell as I thought of him and the fact he would never be in his place there anymore. I cried at the loss of another older person I cared for now being gone.
I still see him sitting there in my mind when I go in for my coffee and feel that sharp pain in my chest. I guess in time, that will go away. I will always cherish his sweet spirit and loving attitude to not just me, but everyone he encountered there.
So maybe that’s what I would say to not only the girl writing about coffee shops but to those who dismiss it as big corporate coffee.
It’s not “just” the coffee. It’s about the people who come there to drink it, whose lives begin to engage with yours who somehow make it richer in different ways and add to it from your ordinary world. People you might not have otherwise known who offer wisdom, friendship, encouragement, laughter, and most recently for many of us, grieving together over the loss of our friend.
The coffee is great, but the gift of relationships and a richer life is often, far more satisfying.