Take a seat with the regulars


I have a habit. According to me it's a good habit, not a bad one. I do a lot of my writing in Walla Walla's numerous coffee shops. I tend to float around, enjoying a change of scenery every now and again. I'm an equal-opportunity coffee drinker.

"Maybe that's what's causing your indigestion," Annie says. "Too much acid."

"But I've been drinking coffee all my life."

"Things change," Annie says. "Maybe your body's finally rebelling."

"But it's one of my favorite things to do."

"Things change," Annie says. "Maybe your body doesn't care that it's one of your favorite things to do."

"But ..."

"Things change," Annie says.

I average five coffee shop stops each week.

"Maybe that's what's causing your indigestion," my doctor says. "Too much acid."

"Jeepers, you sound like my wife. I've been drinking coffee all my life and it's never caused me a problem."

"Things change," he says.

"Told you so," Annie says.

Allowing for business travel, two weeks vacation, and one debilitating cold, I average 225 coffee shop stops each year.

"I'm pretty sure it's the coffee," my doctor says.

"Told you so," Annie says.

Assuming I spend $2 on coffee each day, that's $450 I contribute to our local economy every year. You'd think I'd get an award or something.

"I'm thinking you're going to get an ulcer," my doctor says.

"Told you so," Annie says.

"You've never mentioned an ulcer," I say.

I arrived at Olive yesterday morning. It's one of my haunts. There's a well-lit table upstairs where I write, daydream, and watch the comings and goings of the place.

I like the coffee and the jam-topped biscuits. I don't eat the biscuits anymore. I'm watching my waistline. But I like to look at them.

Bob and Horace were at their table. They sit at the same table every day. Bob opens his Bible, drinks a latte, and munches a cinnamon bun while he lectures Horace. Horace sips a cup of herbal tea, smiles, and listens. Bob likes it that way.

Sarah, Gertrude, and Bonnie take up their positions on the sofa -- same seats every day. Sarah has coffee and a raisin-walnut scone -- every day. Gertrude brings a baggie full of grapes and drinks the free water -- every day. Bonnie has a cappuccino and a cute little quiche -- every day. They talk about their husbands -- every day. They strategize about rehabilitating various male-type flaws, but generally throw up their hands in the end and leave shaking their heads. Gertrude, who's married to Horace, says loud enough for Horace (and everybody else) to hear, "That old goat's a lost cause -- a total lost cause."

Horace smiles and sips his tea.

Seth was at his table -- same table every morning. He drinks his coffee black. He says "Hi" if you say "Hi" first. Otherwise he'll nod in your direction and continue musing about whatever he's musing about. He's a man of few words and enjoys the good company of others at a distance.

Ron always sits on a stool at a table upstairs. He eats one of those biscuits I told you about, reads a book, and drinks black coffee. But yesterday he sat in one of the big comfy chairs downstairs. It threw everybody off. When I went to get my free refill, I asked him why he wasn't at his table upstairs.

"Don't know," he said.

That's a funny thing about Ron. He can be sort of unpredictable.

If you'd like to read more of Sam's musings on life, get yourself a copy of his latest book, BIG APPETITE. According to Sam, it's a good read.


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