The coffee shop craze hit my small corner of the world in the late 2000s, at least from what I can remember. My first consumption of coffee was during hunting camp. My father allowed me to have one cup of coffee with hot cocoa mix in it. It was delicious and introduced me to mochas.

In high school, I wasn’t much of a coffee drinker, but I did end up consuming a good bit. I can remember in Mr. O’Rourke’s history class, we would often have the second half of our “block period” at a coffee shop. I can still remember the feeling of independence as we got into our cars, or our friend’s cars, and drove to the shop. We would have a discussion there and go over class notes over coffee.

Choir and ensemble would not be any different. After our events, whether it be a concert or ensemble “gig”, we’d go to the coffee shop. I now feel bad for the baristas, now that I’ve done the job. It was not a welcoming sight for a horde of high schoolers descending during a rush. I’ll never forget when the barista gave me a big coffee when I ordered a medium, thinking I was going to get upset. Spoiler alert: I was not.

In my high school we had two weeks after Christmas Break that was devoted to a particular subject. While we did many favorable topics, in senior year we read John Milton’s Paradise Lost. We had to choose what kind of project we were going to do and one of them was writing.

The woman who had come to help us writers took us to the coffee shop that seemed to be the place to go at that time of my life. We had our journals out and she told us to write about what we hear or see. I sat with an open notebook. College ruled, one-subject. Pretty standard. I began to take notice in the people and the conversations buzzing around.

I wrote what I saw and heard. It wasn’t much. There were people drinking coffee by themselves, while others were meeting friends. Some patrons were there to meet for the first time. Coffee is still an acceptable first date, right? As I got older, I appreciated coffee shops for their unique place in life. In a coffee shop, conversations varied from person-to-person, from conversation-to-conversation. Each held a unique place in such an establishment and that uniqueness was beautiful.

Much like the George Strait song “Cold Beer Conversations”, people meet and converse. Life’s frustrations get expressed to trusted friends, and long lost friends get updated. It’s a great place to be to sit and reflect on life over a cup of coffee, whatever your preference for drinking it may be. Call up that friend or family member you haven’t spoken to for a while and go out for coffee. Ignore the humming and buzzing of our rushed society and take a moment to think and reflect.

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