Drinking from the Cups of Life


For I have known them all already, known them all—
Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons,
I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;

T.S. Eliot

It has been seven years ago today since door first opened in to the warm world of my favorite coffeehouse.  So much has happened over the course of those seven years, and much of it occurred at Cups.

I still remember the first time I set foot inside.  Behind the counter stood Heather Miller.  With her fiery red hair and flowing hippie skirts I knew immediately she was not going to be your typical southern belle.  We had a long discussion about the glory (and local unavailability) of Cranberry Orange bagels, the differences between us (Yankees) and them (Southerners).  Heather was from Seattle you see, a fellow Yankee and a westerner to boot.

It became my habit to stop in every morning on my way to work.  It didn’t take long for Cups to feel like a second home.  I met and grew to admire Lisa Kirk, the beautiful blonde with a quick wit and contagious smile who would come to co-own Cups Crossgates.
Every day as I headed to work I would stop in for my daily cup.  I came for more than coffee.  I came for the way Cups made me feel.  Lisa has a gift that few people possess.  She can look at a person and find something genuinely nice to say to them.  Something true, not forced, not phony.  No matter my mood, I always left feeling better than when I entered.

My life outside the café was rapidly changing.  I had returned to school to get my BA.  I did my first photojournalism assignment on Cups.  I began taking freelance writing assignments and my first published piece was on Lisa’s then boyfriend, (now obnoxiously perfect husband), James Thompson.  Over the course of several interviews for the piece, Lisa, James, and I went from being casual acquaintances to true friends.  They introduced me to Theresa Bankston and the circle was complete.

Every other Saturday Lisa, James, Theresa, and I would drag our tired asses out of bed at the obscene hour of 8am and all gather at the tables set up outside.  We would talk, laugh (there was always laughter), debate, smoke like freight trains, drink coffee by the gallons, and just bask in our friendship.  Others would come and go, sharing a cup or a smoke or just an anecdote or two.  Our Saturday morning coffee klatch became the highlight of my week.

When my marriage fell apart, they were the first ones I told.  They were also the first to know about my granddaughter’s pending arrival and the site of my daughter-in-law’s baby shower.

After Shiloh arrived we had a regular date, Grams and Shi at Cups, at least one Sunday a month.

They were at my college graduation sitting in the stands with my mother, sisters, daughter-in-law, and granddaughter.  Family.

I wrote my law school application and essay sitting at a table in Cups staring at the artwork on the wall and trying to find out how to make myself shine through in my writing.  When I was accepted to Ole Miss, I made the official announcement at a table in Cups, surrounded by James, Theresa, Lisa, Morgan, and Megan.  They were the first people, outside of my immediate family, that I told.

James took me to a campaign event he was hosting for Dr. Johnny DuPree and let me help him, Sam and Blue Dot make history by getting Dr. DuPree nominated as the first black candidate for governor in Mississippi since reconstruction.

I was there when James and Lisa finally made it official and became the most perfect couple I have ever met.  Really.  It’s damn near obnoxious.

They were the first of my friends to meet Shiloh Elizabeth when she arrived.  If I recall Theresa took one look at my angelic granddaughter and said to James, “Poke her, she’s boring.”

What started with a simple cup of coffee grew in to amazing friendships with Lisa, James, Theresa and Theresa’s awesome daughters, Morgan and Megan, Heather, Susan Ng, Kim Moss, Sam Hall, Josh Sutton, and countless others who are part of not just my Cups family but my heart family.

With my life packed up to the tops of an old Ford Taurus, leaving central Mississippi for Oxford and a completely new life my last stop was Cups in Brandon.  I took with me so much more than incredible coffee.  I took with me my life, measured in coffee spoons.

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~ by D.L. Graves on August 8, 2012.

3 Responses to “Drinking from the Cups of Life”

  1. I love them! I have been going there since it opened! Lisa and Heather are so wonderful! I love them to pieces and Cups is my home away from home too!!!!

  2. what a beautiful tribute! thank you for sharing that! Love the Cups ladies.

  3. I miss you already girl. You and I always found something to bitch and laugh about…all the best

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