I don’t have much left….REALLY!!!

all i have

by Kenneth Justice

Yesterday I stopped by one of the little coffee shops I frequent for a much needed afternoon break. I’ve been struggling with a cold for more than a week and I’ve been busy as hell lately. Not more than a minute after I sat down, the older gentleman sitting next to me struck up a conversation with me,

Did you have a good Thanksgiving?” the stranger asked me

Apparently, he was the youngest of five siblings (he is in his late sixties) all of whom have died, he’s the last left. He never married, never had any children, and most of his family is gone now, “I have a couple cousins in California, but that’s about it” he said, “I spent Thanksgiving dinner at the church on Wednesday, other than that I was all alone, but that is okay, I’ve got my coffee” he said with a smile

The Mermaid coffee place was open on Thanksgiving morning, and in past years I might have been annoyed at that decision; after all, why not let employees have the day off? But for this retired dude in his late sixties, going to coffee every morning is all that he has, “There are a few regulars that come into coffee every morning and we chat about the news of the day and whatnot, the little conversations I have with people that I meet, such as yourself Kenneth, are the things that keep me going” he said

Of course, I’m still annoyed at a lot of the Big Box stores who don’t give employees the opportunity to have the holiday off, yet I can’t help but have my heart softened just a little bit at the coffee shops and cafés who open up for their valued customers. I talked to the owner of an Indie coffee shop near my house, “I see my coffee shop as playing an important role in the community. We are the place where neighbors gather to make connections. Let’s be honest, people don’t go to Walmart, Target, and Red Lobster to run into neighbors and have lengthy conversations or to meet people. They come to café’s and coffee shops, to laid back environments, and that is a really valuable role us coffee shops have in the community” he said

Unfortunately, the price of rent is driving a lot of indie café’s out of business. I’m not sure what the landscape of coffee and tea shops will look like in ten years. But at least for now, if it wasn’t for them there are a lot of people who would be drinking coffee all by themselves at their house.

Just a few thoughts as I sipped my China Green Tea this morning,


Categories: Culture & Society

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15 replies

  1. A beautiful story. Thank you.

  2. Did you have a good Thanksgiving?
    I’ll have some fresh coffee:)

  3. People need social safety nets, too.

  4. Enjoyed this post Kenneth. I hope you had a good Thanksgiving.

  5. Don’t forget that there are people who may WANT to work on Thanksgiving:)

  6. I think there are plenty of people who aren’t really into holidays. I would definitely prefer to work. Especially if they paid overtime for it.

  7. Hope you feel better soon, so you can enjoy your coffee again! You must really miss it 😉

  8. Beautiful post; it’s always nice to have things from a different perspective! Hope you feel better soon!

  9. Nice piece as usual. I can relate. I was pleasantly surprised when the new all-vegan Native Foods Cafe announced they’d not only be open Thanksgiving Day but serving a vegan feast. You just had to reserve a time. I’m divorced and moved to the city, a dream come true. Still, it’s not easy making friends. Add the vegan part and the holiday season and well, invitations don’t clog your email.

    So far my friends consist of fellow vegans, the homeless men who pan in my neighborhood, and several who work in the “service” industry–the last two especially invisible to fellow urbanites. I know what you mean about wishing everyone had the day off, but am glad that a “meeting place” or two opens its door knowing the value of a holiday shared with others. Peace \/

  10. Wonderful, may the wee coffee houses stay open and may friends gather and chat.

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