The Importance of Coffee With Friends
I write novels, but what some of you might not know is that I also work at my local library. I can't help it. I love books. But more than that, the library to me is about the people I work with. They are some of my dearest friends, and seeing them every week, during the few days that I work there, brings a sense of normalcy to my life. Over the years a few of us have drifted off to other things, but we've always made an effort to get together... because we could. Now, however, with the library shut down and the stay at home order given, not seeing the smiling faces of my friends was really getting to me. I mean, I love my family, but let's face it, living with three men and two dogs can be... a little trying.
It was the brainchild of my friend Margaret, who sent our little group a text stating that she was going bonkers and needed to meet for coffee. It was late March in Michigan. It was cold, dreary, and with all our favorite places shut down it was going to require a little creativity.
Excited by the thought of seeing my friends, I suggested we meet at our town park, a place where we could gather and social distance very easily. Besides, I had just made cherry scones. What better way to celebrate our first social distancing coffee than with cherry baked goods!
That first meeting was great, but soon after we left, the gates to the town park were shut and locked, forbidding anybody from driving in. It was a bit eerie to think that a park could be gated like that, but it sent the message loud and clear--NO GATHERING!
Now, I'm not going to say that we're a bunch of rebels, but I will say that the human need for coffee and chit-chat is very strong. Without the ability to meet at the town park, we had to get even more creative. Our next COVID coffee spot was, well... in the cemetery. Yes, it might have been a little desperate. But in our defense, it's a place naturally conducive to social distancing.
We were so happy to be together for that one chilly hour. It reminded us of a time long past--a simpler time before cell phones and the internet. Just like in those bygone times, we traded news and shared goods with each other. Tanya brought us fresh eggs from her mother's chickens. She also made delicious raspberry jam. Sue brought us her homemade lavender soap, which smelled divine. She also brought me one of the many masks she'd been making. Margaret brought her delicious, fresh-out-of-the-oven pumpkin bread. I didn't even have time to take a photo of it because I ate it so fast. Yes, we were all painfully aware of the unseen terror plaguing the world, and we were respectfully fearful of it, but there was something very necessary that drove us to be together: friendship.
One chilly afternoon my husband and I built a fire. He was feeling a bit isolated, so I called the girls over. They came with their masks and their goods, and we all had a good laugh about it. Things like toilet paper, yeast, and flour are hard to come by these days, but one of us always seems to have enough to share. I may not quilt, sew, make soap, or homemade jam, but I do like to tell stories--funny stories, that is. This silly little video is my gift to my friends. It's to commemorate our friendship during these unsettling times. We may not know when the library will open again. We may not know how a post-virus world is going to look. But the one thing we do know is that family and friendships are essential, especially during times like these.
So, stay safe, stay healthy, and stay connected to those you love.