Although most of my daily coffee drinking occurs at home and on my commute, I walk to our neighborhood coffee shop about once a week for an extended stay. Amid the noise and confusion I’ve learned to relax and learn the language of coffee.
Lexie, Large Caramel Sugar Free Extra Shot Soy Latte
The shop is not exactly like that place where everybody knows your name, but some of the baristas actually do know my name, which pleases me beyond reason.
Terri, Americano, No Room
Americano is my drink of choice. An extra large cup with several strong, dark, espresso shots filled to the brim with hot water. So hot they double cup it and add a coffee sleeve before it’s even made. So hot that behind the crowded bar, while the water is carried from the hot water spigot to the espresso machine, the barista chants “hot water, hot water, hot water” all the way.
Mary Beth, I have your Minty Matcha Latte
I enjoy drinking coffee, and appreciate how lucky I am to have really good coffee really close by.
Paul, your Triple Shot Oat Milk Chai, at the Bar
Excellent fair trade beans are sourced from all over the world. My favorite is a dark French roast that’s a blend of beans from Central America and Indonesia and it’s what I think of when I hear the word coffee.
Mocha Mexicanà, Iced, for Eddie
I buy the beans, the baristas grind them fine for French press and I make fabulous coffee at home every day.
Large Half Caff Soy Cortado for Logan is up
I use a glass and metal Bodum French Press whose design was born in the 1950’s, making it just a little younger than me. The Bodum is still made today, but I bought mine for a dollar at an auction a few years ago and I have no idea how old it actually is.
Paul. Paul. Triple Shot Oat Milk Chai. At the Bar
Besides enjoying the coffee, I’m also fond of the coffee shop atmosphere. This is a cozy, but not a quiet, place. Coffee beans are ground. Names and drinks are called out. The frappé machine whirs. There’s music in the background along with talk and laughter from the over-filled tables. The doors are continually opening and closing, allowing throngs in and out.
Sandy, Cold Brew Honey Almond Au Lait
Somehow, though, as chaotic as the whole place is, I find I can concentrate and block out the many distractions whether I’m working on an outline for my next yoga practice, writing a blog post, or reading a book.
Ashley, Medium 5-pump Chai Tea with Skim is ready
The wonderful cacophony allows me to sink into a soft pillow of sound, quieting other thoughts that might be buzzing around my brain, and allowing me to focus on whatever I really want to think about. All the while I’m savoring a delicious cup of the best coffee I can get. And, just every once in a while, a house-made orange scone.
About the only downside of my coffee shop, today at least, is Paul. How I wish he’d pick up that triple shot.
I enjoyed writing about a beloved place, Jekyll Island, in a previous blog post (December, 2019). Writing about the island brought back sweet memories of the past that blended with more recent memories of our annual visits each spring.
The story seemed complete, but then a friend mentioned the possibility of writing The Island as a poem. A rather short poem.
As I disassembled the story and put it back together in a different form, I learned so much. How to ruthlessly delete words, phrases and paragraphs that I didn’t think the story could live without. How to minimize and make each word count. How to keep the feelings evoked by the story intact while nearly everything else changed. At least, I hope I learned all of that.
1970, reporting to naval duty.
Young, newlywed, possessions packed into a car.
Midwesterners, hadn’t even known Georgia had a coast.
Paint-peeling shacks. Tall, proud pines,
Then winding through marshes to the island.
Dunes, spiraling sea grass, long, wide, white beach.
Immense space, sky huge and blue, sunlit water.
Long-legged birds playing with crashing waves.
Salty spray. Wind roaring. Hearts filling.
Didn’t know we would
walk this beach for hours, talking, planning, growing;
drive off island late one night, return as a family of three;
stroll in soft twilight, the ocean lulling a baby to sleep.
Didn’t know we would someday yearn for this place,
returning in reality and daydreams, perhaps pulled by tides.
Knew we needed this island, and a cheap, furnished house.
Drive on over, they said at the rental office. Give it a look.
Keys? They laughed. Doors aren’t locked on the island.
Tiptoed in, glanced around, signed on the indicated line.
The island, the jewel, was ours, forever, our home.