Raise mug to coffee shops

I was thinking about coffee shops the other day as I found a corner to tuck myself into in my favourite sanctuary and put on my headphones to listen to Yiruma play the piano in my ears while I created images with words on my paper.
I pretended it was my Thea playing the piano; that she sat right behind me at a grand piano while I worked. And her music kept my thoughts flowing, instead of where she really is, far too many miles away.
I looked around at a table of four women breathlessly sharing a story that erupted into spontaneous laughter every few minutes. An elderly man sat reading the paper; his hand on his mug that he lifted to his lips without raising his eyes from the print.
A young mother wheeled her infant child asleep in his stroller and had her “rechargeable” coffee mug filled to sip on while she walked him. But she exchanged some hellos while patrons swooned over her baby, telling her how very perfect he was.
Coffee shops appear in small towns and become the backbone of a community. The service coffee shops offer should be considered essential.
Coffee shops mark a place where people gather to feel part of something bigger than themselves—a place to exchange small talk and woes, wearies, and laughter.
Coffee shops mark a place for newcomers to find an identity; to hear his/her voice emerge from the silence. To get his/her footing, to ease the ache of being homesick—homesick for familiarity.
Coffee shops are a place where ideas spring from a seed into a plan; where business partners gnaw on a problem to find a solution.
I love coffee shops that raise their local flag, adorn their walls with local art, invite local musicians in and give them a forum to share their talent.
I admire coffee shop owners. I am grateful for the contribution they make; for their efforts and sacrifice. They most certainly do not do it for the money, but I can’t imagine my community without them.
A young couple has a café at the end of our road. These two are young enough that they still have visions of saving the world by leading by example, by using local food suppliers, by offering fair-trade coffee, by airing documentary films that educate and nudge us in the right direction.
It is where I go to write, to replenish my sense of hope, to remember the possibilities.
Ariell and Jesse open at 7 a.m. every day and provide the most delicious yet simple lunch menus. They constantly are imagining how they can improve their community, how they can create magic, how they can provide a space for people to gather.
I could make coffee at home, and I do. But here’s the thing: I don’t really like coffee. Rather, I like the “idea” of coffee; I love the smell of fresh coffee brewing.
I love Annie’s coffee—the smell that fills her kitchen; the coffee Annie pours into her familiar white mugs and I pretend the cream has just been brought up from the cool dark milk house on her farm and poured from her white ceramic cream pitcher.
I don’t ever have a cup of coffee that I don’t think of my precious Annie and her cream, so the coffee allows me to teleport back to her kitchen, where I am—and always was—loved and safe.
I like to think that coffee shops allow us all to teleport back to our favourite spot, and we raise a cup of coffee in honour of such memories.