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going to the coffee cart

July 4, 2009
farmer Lukas checks on the garden using his tractor/dumptruck

farmer Lukas checks on the garden using his tractor/dumptruck

Almost every morning we take a walk downtown. We usually go to Bus Stop Coffee at the Mail Depot for coffee or tea. Let me tell you a bit about the Mail Depot. Maureen, the proprietor, is a single mother of four who began this shipping business downtown in the old bus stop. Against all odds, she has created the most amazing community space, while making a good living for herself and her four children. There are art exhibits, music events, even fire dancing in the parking lot and a summer garden right there on the asphalt. (more on the garden later)

This gathering place thrives during one of her special art openings or music events but also all day long. People hang out inside, and in the mornings, when Katie and Nathan (also big Lukas appreciators!) of Bus Stop Coffee open up their cart, the community gathers for coffee. The outdoor café is perfect for babies and toddlers. We and a few other moms and kids have basically made a little impromptu morning playgroup there it seems amongst the regular gathering of guys that hang out.

Mark is one of our favorite guys there, he plays with the kids while we sip our coffees and we are forever grateful to him for that! John makes and flies model airplanes and has wonderful stories about his days as an ad-man and about his wonderful Mom. “Tell me more stories about your mom John!” I always say, “I want to be as good as she was!” I love being able to see whomever is there, Eva and Sabine, Heidi and Sadie, Pat and Vita, Mark, Drew, Jack, Artie (the dog), Sherri, and all the rest! It’s nice to know that there will usually be someone we can socialize with down at the coffee cart every morning. And Lukas is really becoming acquainted with his community and they with him.

hanging out in the back garden

hanging out in the back garden

There are two seating areas, one under the overhang for rainy days or for watching the drinks being made, the mailman arrive or the UPS truck—always a source of entertainment for the kiddos. Or there is the sunny space in back, which recently has been made into a garden. A double horseshoe of hay bales is set out on the asphalt and filled in with dirt between them. On the ends are metal garbage cans filled with dirt. In the spaces of dirt grow all manner of tomatoes, peppers, corn, cucumbers, squash, marigolds and more. In the middle of the horseshoe is a table with an umbrella. You can sit there or on the hay bales and be surrounded by an ever-growing garden, right there in the parking lot!! There is a little ride-on dump truck that Lukas loves. “Kuck!” he says, pointing at it when we arrive. “Kuck!” and he happily rides it around until he starts getting into the place where the rusty wheelbarrow and a bunch of rusty poles are located, fondly known by Eva and me as “the tetanus zone”. Then we dissuade with snacks and maybe a dog comes by to provide new entertainment. 

On the way home, we go to the market to pick up anything needed or maybe grab some lunch with Heidi and Sadie, and often we will stop by the knitting store too. There are little landmarks along the way and Lukas and Sadie love to spin the garden spinners at the garden shop, liten to chimes outside the massage place, and point at (and maybe once in a great while, ride) the champion, the mechanical horse outside Heebe Jeebe. He just received a fabulous paint job. Maybe we’ll point at the Kentucky Street walk signal and its little voice saying, “walk signal on to cross Kentucky” and then we’ll hug a few balloons that are attached to a sign outside the import store. When I say “we” I really mean Lukas.

Each morning walk is a similar routine, but things are always a little different. It is these details I love, as time spirals upward each day with my little guy, and I experience him growing and the garden growing and the seasons cycling and people coming and going and coming back again. It’s a good life.

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