Well, the air is crisp today. The winter sky is beautiful, and it’s about time for a cup of coffee and read another part of the story, so grab your coffee cup and read on…
THE ART OF SIPPING COFFEE
It had been an exhausting week. Granted, starting a new job has enough stress built into it, but I discovered that processing insurance claims wasn’t as easy as many said. The one bright spot each morning was stopping by my little coffee café on the way to work.
My second week had started out well, and I was getting the hang of handling insurance claims. I was now acquainted with the baristas at the coffee shop who worked the morning shift. I loved their cheerful greetings each morning and felt that I indeed gained some special friends.
This morning after paying for my cup of coffee, I decided I’d get it in a ‘to-go’ cup. Looking over the options, I had several choices of coffee and finally picked one. After filling the paper cup and positioning a lid on it, I waved to my new friends and headed out the door. After greeting my fellow co-workers, and sitting at my desk, I took the lid off my coffee cup only to discover that coffee grounds were generously floating at the top of my coffee.
“I hate coffee ants!” I said, louder than I meant to speak. My co-workers were all ears, looked around, and asked where the ants were.
“No, no,” I reassured them. “They’re not in the office. They’re in my coffee!” From their yells and remarks, I realized they misunderstood, and I quickly had to explain.
“No, they’re not real ants. It’s just the coffee grounds but they’re floating in my coffee like a troupe of ants enjoying a swim in a brown lake!”
Laughter erupted throughout our small office, and I had to laugh, too, when I realized how funny it sounded.
I quickly retrieved a napkin and started fishing out the ‘coffee ants’ from my coffee. Finally satisfied that I had found all of them, I threw the napkin in the trash, reheated my coffee, and was ready to get on with my work. Finally, after the workday wrapped up, I was able to stop at my coffee shop again. I wanted them to be aware of the problem I’d had with the coffee ants and prevent that problem for other customers.
My friend, Ralph, was the manager on shift so I shared my horror story with him. He tried to stifle a chuckle but it escaped his lips anyway. “I’m sorry,” he said, regaining his composure. “I have never heard coffee grounds called coffee ants before, but I totally understand. I’ll inform the morning crew to be more careful, and I trust you won’t get any more coffee ants in your cups. In the meantime, have a free cup of coffee on us—ant free.”
I thanked him but had him fill the cup from behind the counter. As he handed it to me, he winked. “I checked, and there aren’t any coffee ants in this cup. You’re safe.” I smiled and accepted the cup.
“I also know that not everything in life goes smoothly,” he added. “There are those times when coffee grounds, uh, coffee ants can get in the way and disrupt us. There are always things we can’t control because they’re just beyond our personal control. That’s when you just have to go with the flow so to speak—as you did earlier in fishing out those coffee ants. However, don’t let a few coffee grounds throw a shadow on your day or put a dent in your mood. Besides, you can quickly eliminate coffee ants. They don’t have to rattle you to the core, I’ve learned.”
I smiled when I realized he’d been the victim of the irritating coffee ants/coffee grounds and survived. I nodded. “Thanks, Ralph,” I said. “I’ll remember that. And, you’re right; there are more important things in life.” With cup in hand, I waved good-bye and headed home for the evening.
* * * * * * * * *
Several days later when I dropped into my coffee shop on my way into work, I was surprised to see a colorfully decorated sign where you ordered. It boldly declared “Today Is Savor-The-Flavor Day.” I wasn’t exactly sure what that meant, but I would find out. My friend, Sharon, was the barista and greeted me much too cheerfully, I thought.
“I’m not quite awake, Sharon, so don’t push me over the edge of happiness quite yet.” I chuckled and pointed to their colorful sign. “What is Savor-the-Flavor-Day?” I asked.
She laughed, and then explained. “We find many of our patrons just don’t truly enjoy the flavor of their cup of coffee or their day. They’re too busy, too rushed, too impatient. We’re encouraging everyone to slow down a bit, really enjoy, and savor the flavor of his or her coffee. You can have a cup of coffee and an hour later, someone asks you what was so special about that cup of coffee, and you can’t answer because you barely recognized the flavor, the intensity, or even the half-n-half or sugar you added. When you think back you realize you were just drinking something hot.”
I nodded but caught what she was saying. “That’s true,” I responded. “And, you know what. It’s the same in life, isn’t it? We hurry so much that we really don’t enjoy the flavor of each day. Each day is unique and we won’t ever get them back once the sun sets.”
“Yes!” Sharon gave me a high-five. “You’re sounding like quite the philosopher this morning.”
I laughed and shook my head. “Indeed I am.” I chucked again. “I’m glad you put this sign here because we all need to remember that we flavor our day with our own thoughts and decisions, and I’d dare say, the more we think of others, the sweeter and more enjoyable the flavor of our day is.”
“Awesome!” Kurt chimed in from behind the counter and then reached over the counter and shook my hand. “She got the message, Sharon. My work here is done.”
We all laughed realizing we’d just flavored our day. Now we were ready to flavor someone else’s.
* * * * * * * * *
(to be continued next month in Part 3)
Originally published 2017