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Snow and ice and flooding and…

20 Jan

Coffee.

Of course coffee.

Always always always coffee!

But this time it’s a bit about magic, too.

I have to admit I’ve gone a bit stir crazy these last three or so days as the Pacific NW has been hammered with a significant storm. Everyone keeps saying it’s the biggest one we’ve had in decades, which makes me realize just how much time has passed and how much life has changed since the last major snow storm. And above all else, how that last major storm still somehow feels like it was almost yesterday.

It makes me think about the lovely, steaming cup of VIA I have in my mug, and how that wasn’t possible even three years ago, much less 20 or more. What on earth did people do when they were trapped for days in their houses without access to their local latte hole a-la Starbucks? And then I realize…hey wait a second, 20 years ago, Starbucks had a mere few hundred locations, and most of us probably lacked our total dependance on the morning latte fix. Or at least if we had a coffee fix, it looked different than it does today.

All of it gets me thinking back to that simpler time in life. Twenty years ago when we had our last epic snowstorm, I was just a kid. I was grinning and full of glee, even though I had been trapped at my elementary school for hours late a night while the NW got hammered with a totally unexpected storm that nobody was apparently prepared for. My parents couldn’t reach me, until my best friend’s parents picked them up in their 4WD Jeep, and swung through the school to get the kids (aka me and my friend). I still have the image in my mind like it was yesterday, of dangling my legs out the back tailgate of the jeep as we drove home through the 2+ feet of snow that had fallen in just one afternoon. I was thrilled, and living in the moment. No concept of just how insane the weather phenomenon was. No regard for where we were going, how we would get there, if I would be warm, or safe. All I could do was look at the snow and smile, and try to resist the incredible urge to jump out of the back of the Jeep and roll around making endless snow angels and frolicking through the fresh, fluffy powder. It was magic.

And coffee was the farthest thing from my mind. EVERYTHING was the farthest thing from my mind, except the present moment. Except getting my little tush out there and playing in that beautiful gift from heaven. Snow.

And, come to think of it, coffee was about the farthest thing from my parents’ minds either. Really, I’m not quite sure how I ever became so enamored with coffee, because I was raised in a tea-drinking house. An English Breakfast, Irish Breakfast, Twinings tea-drinking house. And tea, unlike coffee, has been easily accessible, store-able, keep fresh-able for a huge amount of time. My parents never had to worry during a snow storm if they had enough tea around to keep themselves happy. They always had several dozen boxes in the pantry. Always fresh. Always individually ready to brew. Snow storm? Bring it on.

Coffee drinkers, on the other hand, suffered a different plight. Most of them, 20 years ago, were probably drinking the absolute crud from the bottom of a Folgers can. So, if they were lucky, they had their fix in their pantry, just like my parents did their tea, although it was likely not able to be described as fresh, or very palatable for that matter (but it’s all relative…that was all a matter of perspective back then. And back then, that’s all that coffee was. A can of Folgers in the pantry).

So here we are, 20 years later, an entire corner of the country virtually trapped indoors with a prison of snow, ice, and now potential flooding outdoors. And we’re at the point now where, at least in the Pacific NW, thanks in large part to being Starbucks home-front, a can of Folgers in the pantry simply won’t do. In fact, its considered blasphemy by most of us Seattle residents. Undrinkable. Unfathomable. But on weeks like this, it’s also pretty unfathomable to get to a Starbucks to get our customized-beverage-of-choice on. And even if we could get there, the odds that the Starbucks partners could get there to even open the store make us realize it’s probably going to be a fruitless venture. And so inside we stay. And the caffeine monster in our head begins to shout (usually in the form of a lovely, deeply-throbbing headache starting somewhere in the lower back of the neck and radiating outward through our skulls) and starts screaming COFFEE! COFFEE! COFFEE!

And I realize that amidst all of this snow and ice and flooding….there’s a little bit of magic. That thanks to the innovation and spirit of a little Seattle company, there’s a delicious, fresh, individually packaged answer to my prayers tucked away on my pantry shelf, just for such an occasion. Oh, VIA, how I love thee!

And I realize that there’s a little bit of magic around us all the time…even in my cup of snow-day morning coffee.

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