Jo, Chris and yours truly were close friends, but our schedules often kept us apart. Finally, Chris said, “Why don’t we meet once a week for coffee?”
That chance suggestion has led to more than thirteen years of weekly coffees, interrupted only by vacations, work deadlines and the occasional case of flu. A revolving group of friends, augmented by a husband or two, also stop by on occasion.
During those coffee stops, we’ve been able to share each others’ needs, hopes and accomplishments, as well as supporting others. We’ve discussed everything from Obamacare (our kids are all twenty-somethings who need insurance) to politics, new recipes and books read to what’s going on in our families. These weekly dates have let us help each other, celebrate the holidays together, and provide mutual support — all for a few bucks each week.
That’s the good part. The bad: Jo and Chris are both earlybirds, who have to be at work by 8:30 a.m. In order to give them time for commuting, as well as talk, we usually meet at 6:15 a.m. on Fridays. This is hard slogging for someone like me, who loves to stay up late at night, and is often up writing on a deadline. (Two a.m. this morning, to be exact.) This time of the morning, they’re chirping away and making fun of sleepy-eyed me, who sits, staring at the wall, until the caffeine kicks in.
We don’t always spend money doing it, either. Starbucks currently has a program that gives you a free tall regular coffee for an empty bag of their product. (Doesn’t matter what type.) One of us has contacts that go through a lot of Starbucks, and don’t keep their bags. Those empties have provided free coffee for us for years now.
Now and then, we’ll bring goodies to share — or buy something out of the bakery case. (I am passionate about Starbucks’ vanilla scones — what in the world do they put in those tasty little guys?!) Or we’ll swing by Panera’s, for hot coffee and something tasty there, instead. We may even stop by each other’s homes…but with that early time of day (later during the holidays and school vacations), it’s easier to meet at a shop.
This regular time has given far more than just meeting with friends. Every week, I know I can count on people who encourage, advise and comfort. (Criticize now and then, too — but they’ve earned the right. And it’s usually deserved.) They’ve kept me going during times of darkness, and shared my happiness when life is going well. They were good friends before this — but now they’re dear ones.
Try it yourself. It doesn’t matter where, when or with who — the point is to meet consistently. You’ll be amazed at how much a regular stop for coffee (or tea, or drinks) changes your life — for the good.