Don't cubbyhole me, part n + 1
I was visiting Texas' capitol city, Austin, for the second time this week. The first was to see my close friend be sworn into service as a Texas Department Of Public Safety State Trooper.* This second time, was to visit family.
Saturday, while my wife and kids went shopping, I went to get a cuppa with an online friend/old high school acquaintance. In the Austin fashion, I got a hug coming and going. The coffee at the White Rabbit Coffee House was very, very good, and I asked them about their roaster. They sent me to Texas Coffee Traders, at 1400 E 4th St.
That's a rough part of town, but sometimes, the rough parts are where the innovation is...
...and this was definitely the case, here. I arrived, and found them busy, but not too busy to help me. Ron showed me around, and even gave me a quick tour of their roasting facilities. I got to see how they load up 66 lb batches of green coffee beans,
...and put them into one of their hot-air roasters...
They even have some awesome museum pieces, that look ready to be put into service. Note the old drum roaster:
So I bought a pound of their excellent Ethiopian Sidamo and half a pound of Costa Rica Cafe Monteverde each in water-processed and "Natural".
I also picked up some coffee-making/bar supplies (stirring spoons, measuring glasses), and was pleased to be rung up by their nice staff.
With my brown paper bag full of incredible-smelling goodness, I headed out. I stopped to take a picture of the front of the place, and apologized to a customer whom I captured petting the shop cat. I asked if if it was okay to put the picture on the blog. She laughed, said it was fine, and invited me to sit with her boyfriend and herself for a bit, at a table in front of the roast house.
After an hour of chatting, Jessica and Vincent and I were treated by RC (the business owner) to some holiday caramel popcorn before he locked the gates. During the last hour, I had explained that I didn't actually have anything against the independent businesswoman who had attempted to open negotiations for her private itinerant business. I listened to their personal views of the world, and found them quite loving. I learned that they were both artists and musicians. When my wife called to tell me to remember to find a "White Elephant" gift for the family exchange, Vincent ran to his car to bring me some art. I said, "I couldn't give fine art as a white elephant." He laughed and said "this isn't very good art, though!"
One piece? It was so completely inaccessible to my narrow brain, that I absolutely had to give it as a white elephant. Another, I'm putting up on the mantle. It's pretty damn good. Come by my house, and I'll show it to you. Vincent is actually a pretty eclectic, capable artist. I don't know about his rapping. It's not a genre that I'm a huge fan of.
We talked about the pleasure of making the days of strangers, and I thanked them for inviting me to join them. I mentioned an occasion (witnessed by Don Gwinn) where people gave me free cupcakes in the streets of downtown St. Louis. Vincent asked what I was in St. Louis for, and I told him that I was there for an NRA convention. "Holy shit!" he exclaimed. There had been a similar statement when they learned what I do for a living.
We went our separate ways with hugs. I took my art, and was smiling.
I dropped by the HEB grocery store, and stopped to sample some ham presented by Tamara, a nice lady. I asked about where the jalapeno dip was, and she shut down her booth to take me to it. We chatted along the way, and she told me that I was a blessing to her day. Well, hell, she was to mine, too. I hugged this woman and was damned happy for it.
|Tamara, whom I requested permission to blog.**|
Love your neighbors, friend. They're Real People. You can be the best part of their day.
*More on that later.
**NOT Tamara K, referenced here often.