A Bagel and…

A Bagel and…

“Smell the roses.  Smell the coffee.  Whatever it is that makes you happy.”

–Rita Moreno

Before I retired I rarely had time to enjoy a leisurely morning at a local coffee shop.  Instead, I would stop at a Starbucks on my way to a morning consulting assignment or a university faculty meeting, wondering if the coffee order line would be too long for me to get my large skim latte and complete my commute in my allotted time.  I have vivid memories of other harried commuters like me, rushing in and out of the Starbucks, fortifying themselves for the Battle of the Beltway.

Now, of course, my life is very different and I can enjoy mornings any way I please.  And the way that pleases me most is to visit “A Bagel and,” a delightful little coffee shop only five blocks from my house. “A Bagel and” serves up more than the usual latte and bagel.  It is a simple place, furnished with old-fashioned square tables, large windows, and a long bakery case filled with delectable muffins, pastries, and cookies.  On this November morning, I took a seat next to a window, looking out on a leaf-covered patio.  Two fat squirrels happily munched on fallen acorns next to a young man who braved the chill at a small bistro table.

“Is your lady friend joining you today?”  Startled, I looked up to see the shop owner, who had brought me my egg sandwich.  Despite her smile and twinkling eyes, her question took me aback.  “Yes – how did you know?” I asked.  She said that she noticed us last week at the same table, and that we seemed to be having a good time together.

That’s the way it is in a small community.  People notice you and make the effort to get to know you.  Just as I was starting to eat my egg sandwich, a group of women came into the shop and came over to the empty tables next to mine.  They arranged the tables together,  laid out their mahjong tiles and settled in for the game.  This was the same group that had been there the previous week, at exactly the same tables.  “A regular group of friends, meeting weekly to enjoy their game and each other,” I thought.  Is there really anything much better than that?

Patricia came through the door and put her books and handbag on our table before walking up to the counter to order her coffee.  Patricia is probably my best friend in our community and we meet weekly to plan our upcoming class session that we teach together, “The Artist’s Way.”  I look forward to these planning meetings because we talk about a lot more than our class.  We are both progressive Democrats in a community that leans heavily to the political right.  We both left busy careers and family in Northern Virginia to retire here in Ocean Pines and we both are book lovers.  Patricia and I savor this time to catch up on our mutual interests, appreciating the ambiance in the shop and the opportunity to share our thoughts and feelings.  As we chat, the sounds of the mahjong tiles and the ongoing chatter from the players at the tables next to us adds to the warm connections I feel in this shop. Unlike the chaos of the life I left behind, my senses are calmed in this little coffee shop.

Unfortunately, my calm disappears when Patricia suddenly jumps up from her chair.  Without exaggeration, the biggest wasp I’ve ever seen has joined our little party, dancing on the window sill, trying to escape, no doubt.  Without hesitation, I also jumped up, ran up to the counter and asked for a fly-swatter.  I returned to our table, ready to do battle and save the day.  Patricia said calmly, “Cindy, it looks like a queen and she just wants to leave.”  Now, some of you may know that I have adopted Buddhist beliefs since I’ve retired and that living in harmony with nature is one of my most cherished values.  With chagrin, I returned the fly-swatter to the shop owner and came back to our table.  Patricia was gathering up her belongings, so I did likewise.  As we walked out the door, Patricia commented, “We were done anyway.  It’s her time to be in that spot.  I hope she escapes eventually.”

Today is Thanksgiving Day.  Yes, I love “A Bagel and…”  This sweet little place is a microcosm of many things I am thankful for –  relaxation, connection, smiles, greetings, friendship, scents, laughter, learning, nature, and a warm cup of coffee.  A few hours over coffee in a place you love with someone special is my hope for you all.   Happy Thanksgiving!

 

Over a Cup of Coffee

By Juno Munez

Over a cup of coffee
Ideas can brew,
Issues can be tackled,
Solutions can be created through

Over a cup of coffee
Romantic candles can be lit,
Sweet words can be said,
Feelings can be expressed

Over a cup of coffee
Days can be so warm,
Anything can be so light,
Lovers can hold each other’s hands tight

Over a cup of coffee
Enemies can become friends,
Cold War can end,
Hurts and heartaches can mend

Isn’t it wonderful?
To know that anything is possible
Good things can come to be
Over a cup of coffee!

3 thoughts on “A Bagel and…

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