Day Thirty Four: The Coffee Shop

There's a coffee shop in the village I live in, a tiny place where you can park yourself at the counter, eat a greasy meal, and peruse the daily rag that someone purposely left behind. If it served alcohol I would call it a joint, and if I were an old man I would hang out there all day long.

I took my Mom here only once, and for a quick cup of coffee that she didn't really drink. We had just moved into our house and my Mom had spent the last three days being my moral support (I didn't know anything about houses or the suburbs) as well as my second pair of eyes (my kids were really little then and prone to getting in trouble). She was going home that day, which meant a trip on a commuter train into the city, then a subway train to Brooklyn where she and my Dad lived at the time. But we missed her train and decided to wait for the next one in the coffee shop.

It was actually the first time I had ever stepped inside that coffee shop, and I instantly recognized it as a place that was lived in and well-worn by the people who populated the area. My Mom did, too. As she carefully eased herself onto a round vinyl padded stool, she glanced around appreciatively and sighed. The wood paneling, the formica countertops, the thick ceramic mugs and dishes. The coffee shop, with all of its dated charm, was like her kindred spirit.

Over the years, Dave and I have taken the kids to the coffee shop for breakfast or lunch. A quick meal, an impromptu pit stop after seeing a movie, or a little one-on-one time with another family member. It serves comfort food in a comforting setting. It came as no surprise to learn that Dave brought the kids here for burgers and fries when I was with my Mom in the hospital.

This morning, I woke up and decided that the coffee shop would do my cooking for me. Before I could brush my hair, Dave and I were out of the house with our grousing kids. We sat down, ordered our food, and talked about everything and nothing. After our food came, all four of us concentrated on our meals in silence. It was a peaceful moment.

I hope this place never changes.