Sunday, November 9, 2014

The Coffee Shop Chronicles No. 22

You, as the reader may not realize how wonderful it is to me, the writer, to read the words "This was your best story yet." But there is a flip side to that as well, "This was your best story yet" are also the scariest words I can read. Because eventually the bar can't go any higher without taking a step back.

I tried to write a chronicle last week but I also tried to write it at the place where the last "best story yet" was written. Of course the cast of characters wasn't the same, it was kind of slow in there that day due to a nasty, rainy day outside. But the truth be told, my heart just wasn't in it. Our family had suffered a great loss the previous week. We had to put our oldest golden retriever down due to failing health. He was Mallory's dog, and thankfully she was able to come home from school for the week to spend some time with him before we had to say goodbye. He had a larger than life personality and is greatly missed by all of us.

So instead of writing a chronicle that day I worked on some other writing projects and was productive  in that regard. After I left the coffee shop it had stopped raining so I decided to do some country back roads exploring with my camera. I felt more refreshed when I returned home than I had been in quite a while.

For this week's chronicle I have returned to The Sparrows, an adorable coffee shop that I visited last spring. You can read the chronicle from that visit here.

I arrived at the coffee shop at five minutes to nine. It was a dreary, rainy day outside, so the warmth and comfort of the familiar coffee shop was inviting as I stepped through the door. To my delight Miss Willow was behind the counter. She still had the sweet, soft voice that I remembered but the poor darling was also experiencing a case of the hiccups and trying to deal with them as delicately as possible. She joked that it was so hard to focus on what she was doing while she was trying to get rid of them. Still she prepared my chai latte perfectly, paired with a chocolate chip scone. They have the best scones here.

At this coffee shop I don't feel bad sitting at one of the lovely round, worn wood tables that seat three or a cozy four. None of the tables are that big, all inviting intimate conversation rather than interaction with technology. Even though they do have wifi available and some people were there alone and on their laptops, technology didn't overwhelm as it has other places I have been.

I brought my daughter Mallory here once this past summer, she is also a big lover of coffee shops and this place is very much her style. That day it had been very quiet at the coffee shop, located near a few different local colleges the student crowd was gone for the summer. Mallory knew I was coming here and curious as to what kind of guys frequent this coffee shop. Her style would be to meet a guy at a coffee shop as opposed to a bar. Sadly on this day there were very few guys here and the ones that were here were more professor age. There was one cute guy but he was already there with a girl. Then I noticed one young man at a table near one of the big front windows, he must have snuck in when I wasn't looking. He could have potentially been cute but it was hard to tell what was hiding under his ginormous bushy beard. Maybe he is a hunter since deer season is fast approaching and he did have on a Carhardt Jacket. Probably not Mallory's type though since she is not a fan of Bambi killers. 

The loud, fast talking thirty something guy that was at the table next to me with two college age girls seemed to be tied to some religious organization. He talked about church and different community activities but all in a Televangelist kind of way. Too much, too loud. And then he started talking about what big teeth he has and how nobody can tell how crooked they are because of how big they are. Run Little Red Riding Hoods run!

Nope, nobody here I would want for a future son-in-law. Maybe I will need to visit a local Starbucks soon to see who is hanging out there. 

I started a new photography class this week with Ali Edwards called the Lens of Joy. Ali is an amazing documenter of her life, something I want to make a more conscience effort to do in my own life. I brought my camera with me to this coffee shop, I have taken photos here before so I felt completely comfortable doing this. Since writing and coffee shop writing in particular are a big part of my life, I want to document these meaningful moments. 

I also love the fact that although Ali takes a lot of photographs she doesn't consider herself a professional photographer, she embraces imperfection. A girl after my own heart. I love what Ali says here:

"I have to start by telling you that I only know
what I know. And what I know has come from
practice, reflection, making a whole lot of mistakes
and from living with a camera almost always accessible.
I'm a fan of slow learning - of adopting one new thing
at a time and practicing it over and over again."

You will probably be seeing more of me in my posts as I work on being present in my work, adding the human factor that is often missing. 


  1. Good Sunday morning. I love the shot above and the barn. You have wonderful penmanship! And your little read riding hood... very funny. I hope you have a wonderful day. So glad to be getting your posts now.

  2. Sarah, you have a quiet subtle humour in your chronicles that I find delightful. Glad you are back to the coffee shop stories. So very sorry about the loss of Riley. I know how hard it was and how much it hurts. I wish our furry companions could live forever.

  3. Sarah, tears filled my eyes to learn that you'd finally done that toughest thing, saying goodbye to your faithful long-time companion. I'm so glad Mallory was able to spend some time with him at the end. And then...a moment had me laughing out loud as you scouted the coffee shop for potential dates/mates for your daughter and discovered the big bad wolf bragging on his large teeth at the next table. Not to forget the photos - I especially liked the last one, the closeup of notebook, glass, and glasses. Love those little sparks of blue and green reflected light!

  4. Sarah,,,,,, so sorry for the loss of your dear pet. I know how difficult this can be as I have experienced it too. Your coffee shop story is delightful! I can't get enough of these..... I had read parts of them to my husband so he can enjoy them too!! Your pics with this post are wonderful too,,,,, I look forward to what you will post next!

  5. So heartbreaking to read about the loss of your dog, but I am sure he felt comfort with Mallory being there for his last hours. Good luck with the classes, but your photos are always so amazing! Take care x

  6. Sad to hear about Riley . . . I am behind on my posts . . . the one I read of yours most recently was of you and Scout at the park . . . and now I think if him in the picture and wondering what he feels like without his doggie companion,
    brother/sister . . .

    As said by some of the commenters . . . your gift of a bit of humor in the Coffee Chronicles is an added treat. Loved the, "Little Red Riding. . ." reference.

    I think I'll be checking out the "younger/guy types" from now on . . . If I find one, I will stop by and tell him I have a Mallory possibility for him . . .

    Love your Chronicles . . . always your photos, most certainly your reflections, sincerely your zest and humor too.

    Love the quoted piece . . . I will think of it as I continue on with brush in hand . . .

  7. I'm so sorry about Mallory's dog. I knew there was the problem but wasn't sure how it got resolved. It's hard to lose pets. Anyhow, now you've made me wish I'd taken Ali's class! I looked at it good and hard but then was afraid it would be too geared toward women with young children. So I'll be interested to see how you do in there. Your photos are lovely and I'm glad Coffee Shop is back!

  8. It was good to see your "coffee shop chronicles" pop up in my blog list! I enjoy them so much! Love the old barn image, beautiful edited! I'll look forward to more images from your class.

  9. A lovely coffee shop post this week with a bit of some past experiences and Mallory going along to what your up to now...refreshing really...
    I was so sad to hear that your dog finally had to be put down...such a sad time..and it can go on for awhile...the missing of him...the only comfort I ever got was that they were not in pain anymore...such faithful servants to us humans...
    Enjoy this week ahead and good luck with that class....

  10. I enjoy your blog posts because they permit me to know you. On the loss of your family pet, I empathize. Losing a pet is so painful because they are so present - always loving and needing you. On your "best story ever," there will always be another "best" story . . . let go of expectations and just write. On your new class with Ali - can't wait to see more of these kinds of pictures from you. Your style is really evolving into photojournalism - love the shot with your eyeglasses, journal entry, and coffee. Embrace the journey. Can't wait to see what's next . . .

  11. I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your dog. It is so hard to loose a pet, they really are a member of the family. I always enjoy reading your Chronicles. I think every creative person has the 'how do I top that one' complex now and then. I have come to the conclusion that I create because I want to bring out into the world what is in my heart. Every once in a while I create something wonderful and that is a bonus, but not the total reason for creating. Yes I would love for everything to be wonderful, but I have to learn, fail and keep going between the wonderful.
    I love your barn photo. Have a great week!

  12. Love the coffee shop and that scone looks very good. I did think about doing Ali's class but I feel i'm not quite ready for it. I would love to hear your impressions at the end of the class. I hope that you are gradually getting over Riley's loss and Scout isn't missing him too much.


Thank you so much for visiting today and taking the time to read my thoughts on life. :)