She deserved a nice tip. The young lady behind the beverage bar – nested in a separate room inside Allegheny Creamery and Crepes – mixed up a fine warm chocolate brew for me. This, alone, could have been enough for my asking to break a ten dollar bill. In addition to her perfectly mixed hot refreshment, sips of pleasant conversation accompanied my Saturday evening as I had forty-five minutes to wait.
It was a cold evening in Hollidaysburg. Across Allegheny street, a substitute organist sat on the church bench as I enjoyed a week off. This wasn’t a time to eat a wonderful meal prepared by culinary masters. Due to a meal planned for later in the evening, I didn’t want to over-saturate a growling stomach … just appease the monster within. It was a time to wait for my father to finish up at church. He needed a ride home, … and I needed some alone time to think.
She deserved the tip. I deserved some hot chocolate time. Alone with warmth between my fingers and occasional, sweet conversation across a beverage bar, I sat on a comfortable square stool – deserving a few moments to think.
If you live a life similar to mine, these moments are rare. There is a concession trailer a few miles away – full of supplies, but empty of motivation. Life here has been hectic. If you are a follower of my posts, there have been few this past month. I’m not one whose bucket fills with excuses, so there will be none here. Life … just … is.
This recent hot chocolate moment without staring into a phone screen (except to capture a picture) was worth every second. I was hoping it would be when I Skecher-crunched my way across a dark, snow-covered Allegheny street that Saturday evening. There’s never a bad time to enter Allegheny Creamery either. The service is exceptional, succulent servings on the menu never disappoint, and the owners are very kind and genuine.
So I sat and thought.
I considered the unending, unknown universe while thinking about what has ended in my life recently and “things” I thought I knew. Hot chocolate ponderings I haven’t taken the time to consider over the previous thirty days.
Notions about what I believed should have been normal, but never came to pass, blew through the steam as it wiggled its way up past my nose. Loss -not quite settled into my existence – sat quietly in the not yet consumed white squiggles atop the rich brown chocolate. As I thoughtfully tapped on the comforting cup with each acceptance, the warmth on the side continued to hold hands with great friends and family who’ve always been by my side.
We don’t take enough time to examine, and possibly affirm, the wonderful and not-so good drop-ins that happen to us. Sometimes, we push forward. I did. The past few weeks, life took over.
All of the “stuff” is still here, of course. Part of managing is stopping behind a cup of hot chocolate, alone, and acknowledging the ugliness and beauty of the frayed tapestry that is us at times.
It is said over and over: life isn’t perfect. We shouldn’t want it to be. Reminding ourselves of what is good, and possibly not good, at the moment – at whatever age – can be a sweet transformation, however. Being real with yourself is “what is” … There’s no getting around it.
I have a road to travel. A simple forty-five minutes accompanied by a delightful bartendress, a cup of hot chocolate, and my thoughts won’t solve the larger picture that is my life.
It did tighten up a few threads dangling from a decorative tapestry, though.
And so, she did deserve a nice tip. The moments could have gone by with a less-than stellar beverage and sour chat. As it happened, I was beautified with a perfectly mixed chocolate beverage and a few moments of sweet dialogue.
The Allegheny Creamery and Crepes was a place to be that Saturday night as I waited. I walked in anticipating only few moments out of the cold. A cup of hot chocolate, however, offered something more … time to examine loss, change, and anticipation of good things to come.
If you have a Creamery where you are, sit. If ever in Hollidaysburg, find 505 Allegheny Street. Heather and Kirk will welcome you with open plates and pleasures.
I highly recommend their hot chocolate, by the way, for the gentle reminders it can offer you. I waited and found warmth in a simple cup.