This is a painting that a local made of our actual Starbucks in our town. I have been going to it for soon to be twelve years. I know everyone who works there by name and have seen many come and go. It is a charming place and a beautiful location. There are locals who inhabit the Starbucks daily. I being one of them. (What can I say, I'm addicted to my Grande Vanilla Latte with whip) On a clear and crisp day the locals sit on that very bench you see above. There is a group of six friends that have been sitting there with their dogs for years. One of the group, an older man sits with his very intriguing parrot on his shoulders when the weather is warm. There are three men and two women sometimes three on a daily basis, twice a day. Early in the morning and then after 5 in the afternoon. How do I know this? Because I go often twice a day at those times. We smile, a casual hello but that's been the extent of our relationship over the years. They seem to be all around 50-somethings. Anyway, anyone who is local can see how special there friendship is. They are always laughing out loud or talking and smiling and it's apparent that they share something very dear with one another.
The other day I even remarked to someone (don't know if it was my son or my husband) how I would love that, to be near my friends and meet every day for coffee like that. How blessed were they to have that. Although I have been blessed with friends our visits with one another are unfortunately few and far between.
On Tuesday's Wednesdays and Thursdays, we have music lessons in the early evening and I always go to get coffee there since it is on the same street as the music school. Last Thursday, we had to cancel because Matthew was very sick with a head cold.
Well yesterday morning, I went for my usual morning cup of coffee. There was a lovely bouquet of white roses on the coffee bar with a card that read "In Memory of our dear friend Sheri." All of a sudden it hit me. I began to scroll through my mind repeating the name over and over and then I got it. When I asked Rebecca, one of the baristas who it was, she confirmed it. One of the friends, the group that I have gotten to see on a daily basis, a woman by the name of Sheri, died on Thursday morning. The day before Christmas eve, after being hit head on by another car. She died quickly at the hospital. Sheri was 55 and had two daughters. Her smile will live in my mind forever. She was always laughing and smiling and after reading a quote from her daughter who said that her mother was constantly happy and never had an ill word to say about anyone, it brought tears to my eyes.
I saw her every day for all these years. A life was taken abruptly, the morning before Christmas Eve.
Had she gone out to buy more presents? Was she running to the market to get her last minute ingredients for Christmas Eve dinner? Who knows? All I know is I walked into Starbucks last night and the bench was empty. Her one friend drank his coffee alone and then walked outside and continued walking. He had a lost look in his eyes. All the baristas had gone to the funeral to pay tribute to a great woman.
Life is fleeting and brief. When I'm gone will people remember me smiling and laughing? Will my sons say good things about me? Did I leave a mark in this huge and vast planet? Did You?