Follow the Journey....

Oct 8, 2008|
Location: A coffee shop in Springfield, Illinois

I like to people watch. And that's what I'm doing. Watching folks come and go, laugh with one another, shop. Across the square there are some folks sitting, checking e-mail, and enjoying the company of a friend. They're at an unremarkable little place. I try to imagine the paths they traveled to get to that particular coffee house. Maybe I should see for myself what is drawing them to that spot.

Eureka! I identify it instantly! It's the sweet coffee aroma; it permeates the air. It catches me as soon as I walk near. What a fragrance! The warm bean smell tantalizes not just my sense of smell but brings back to life a host of vivid images. Maria. Italy. 1999. Ahh. What great coffee. What a passionate summer. The barista instantly becomes a part of my daydream. She tempts me with her grinds. I approach her and she happily gives in to my need to go back to that taste, that experience.

"You're not from here, are you?" she asks. My comfy jeans and flip-flops betray the fact that I am not on my way to work. But my East Coast accent is probably what gives me away. "I'm from the outskirts of Boston. Cambridge to be exact" I reply. She is from Savannah. She moved here when she followed her boyfriend. They broke up three weeks ago. She's happier now, she claims. Our conversation continues on for a bit. We exchange stories about our hometowns, and she tells me how she aspires to become a barista and eventually a coffee shop owner.

Then she hands me my cup of delight and the conversation stops. I haven't even taken a sip yet and I am plunged into nirvana.


"How did you make this cup of heaven?"

"Oh! You like?" she says with a proud smile. "Well, it's a personal recipe. And it's a bit of a secret. But you're enjoying it too much for me to keep it here in Springfield."

"Yes! You definitely need to share the love!"

"Well, I don't want to share too much. But I guess you can take it with you. It's simple really. It is a fresh cup of brewed coffee with a dash of vanilla almond milk and a pinch of cinnamon."

"Wow. That is simple. But wonderful. Thanks."

"Now remember, it's our little secret."

As I head out the door onto my next adventure, she waves and sends me well wishes for safe travels and I reply with a wink. Once again I find myself outside of this unremarkable little coffee shop but only now I wonder which way the wind will blow me next.

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