Four children and 10 years ago, I worked in a busy little coffee shop. Here I met many great people and created amazing coffee shop connections. Reggae music was always playing through the speakers and the smells of fresh ground coffee and baked banana bread filled the air. Oh how grand that was to walk in to work through those doors with these sounds and smells and familiar faces.
I received many gifts from the patrons, chocolates from a man named Gary whom had a severe stroke and spoke through a little digital hand held recorder, and just loved a smile no matter how long the line up was for a javacinno. A bible highlighted with sticky notes and video from a lady named Mary. She always walked an hour to the shop, with her long flowing skirt and bun in her hair. An older man named Bill the Bee-keeper whom gave me a jar of honey. Despite his age and walking with a cane, he always stood tall and dressed like he was going somewhere fancy for dinner. One day after my shift, a lady named Gabrielle ran out to my car and handed me a little box, in it was a necklace made in Mexico from the the metals found around the Mayan pyramids (I did get these beads out with Dec 21, 2012..just in case..as if those little things were going to stop a natural disaster). I was continually amazed how kind and generous people really were despite the way they looked, their age, or nationality. A fly fishing rod was in the list, a few boyfriends, and one thing that has always stuck in my head other than these fantastic souls, was music from a pre-recording CD that was given to me.
The mans name was Jeff. He was tall but slightly hunched over with silver in his hair and goatee, maybe in his early 40’s back then. He had a soft quite voice, with kind eyes. He would always just appear at the two seater table with the planted palm tree beside it, and just outside his window he would park his beige 80’s volvo stationwagon with his guitar peaking out the back seat.
When I first played his CD, I was mesmerized that it was HIS voice, so strong, smooth and clear, and the music was set in Scotland which we never spoke about. I am half Scottish, but my name is after a castle on the hills in Ireland. A Irish patron from the coffee shop insited this, and brought me a whole printed article on my name..kind old guy, and with one eye slightly squinted and firm voice, told me to keep it and always remember where I came from, think he said remember where I came from twice..and I said, “I will”. As I reflect back, maybe the music reasonated with something in me.
“Oh! ye’ll take the high road and I’ll take the low road, and I’ll be in Scotland afroe ye; But me and my true love will never meet again on the bonnie, bonnie banks of Loch Lomond.”
I find myself from time to time unconsciously singing that song, bringing me back to Scotland, and all my lovely coffee shop connections.