Coffee Spills

What I hear and see and think about at the coffee shops I patronize.
Brisk. Fresh. Well-balanced. Occasional nutty and bittersweet overtones.
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Friday, December 03, 2004

Decorating for Christmas

A number of years ago we were invited to a Christmas party at the home of a local building contractor. It was one of the most elaborate, seasonally-decorated homes I'd ever seen--beyond even a November/December consumer magazine layout. As I went from room to room tasting this and that, admiring how everything was coordinated and themed, and how their four trees didn't have any of the hodge-podge of ornaments collected over 30 years like our tree, I finally saw someone I knew.

She was the "Silk Flower" lady from the coffee shop. I knew some of the intimate details of her love life, but not her name. That's how these friendships go. We exchanged pleasantries--with not much to say when we weren't sitting on a stool, elbows on the counter, surrounded by our daily clutch of coffee buddies.

"How do you know [our host]?" I asked, in an effort to find a common ground (no pun) outside of coffee. "Oh, I am the decorator for the party," she said brightly.

Just then, the wreath over the buffet table went up in flames from the candles that someone had moved just a little to get that last dish of treats in place. We all just stood frozen staring at it--none of us knew where an exit was, except the front door, and we were standing cheek to jowl (filling them). The quick thinking caterer rushed in from the kitchen and threw punch on the fire and put it out.

I don't recall that I ever saw the Silk Flower Lady again.


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