Humbles of Home

Like many times before I left my college town to drive home at quarter to ten at night. This is an ideal time to drive. The drive does not interrupt my day and it gives me two straight hours of podcasts, NPR and of course self-reflection. Before I started my drive I made plans to stop by my friend’s house in Kalamazoo, Michigan, which is a great halfway point.

This drive was dark, cold, windy and rainy. My 5-speed hatchback was drifting all over the road; luckily I was alone on the highway for most of the drive. I stopped at my friend’s as planned and it was hilarious. He is a cherished friend of mine from high school and I value the efforts we make to remain in each other’s lives. I came through the door and instantly concluded that my drive was going to continue in the morning. As always we stayed up late talking about the deep theories of life and a lot of other nonsense. These conversations are very centering and every time I gain a new perspective in one-way or another.

I woke up early, he made me breakfast and I started on my way to the little town in southwest Michigan. I decelerated off my exit ramp and entered in my to city limits. 20 years of driving down this same road for so many reasons. It is odd that I view this little town as a vacation spot over my legal place of residence. I pulled into the one and only coffee shop within my town to finish up some work before the weekend declared it’s self.

Shutting my car door and hurling my bag upon my back I made my way towards the doors of artisan sandwiches, organic milk macchiatos and free wi-fi. I was unexpectedly greeted at the door by a face of a younger high school student (I’ll call her, Mia). Mia was not the young child-like girl that I remembered. She willingly embraced me with a hug and sparked a conversation. I remembered certain activities she enjoyed doing as a 10 year old it turns out she still loves to make art and sing. We furthered our bond talking about our amazing high school art teacher.

During this conversation I was thinking back to the last time I had seen Mia. It was probably about five years ago and I was giving her horseback riding lessons on my good friend’s pony. Mia was always enthusiastic about riding but I also remember her being very shy and timid. Though who wouldn’t be at the age of 10 while having a high school student (me) as your riding instructor?

I was taken back by her poise and confidence, it made me feel so fortunate that I came home for the weekend at the time that I did. It humbled me in a way and put it into perspective that even though I do not permanently live in this town anymore I still had 20 years of building a strong community within it.

After parting ways with Mia, I sat at a single table in the coffee shop and went to work. I periodically peered up and watched as high school students flooded through the door. Buying their coffee and sandwiches they squeezed around tables. I found it fascinating that these young adults of all ages (including myself) were enjoying this atmosphere within the coffee shop.

After an hour I left my single seated table and a rejoined with Mia and her friends. We were asking each other all sorts of questions. I specifically asked why do they come to the coffee shop… their answers were the same as mine.

“To look out of the big corner windows at the town’s life outside and to be in common meeting place where you’re likely to rekindle an old friendship.”

Union Coffee House & Cafe, Buchanan, Michigan