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Thursday, August 5, 2010


word of the day: rich \ˈrich\ a.) having high value or quality b.) magnificently impressive c.) having a strong fragrance d.) highly productive or remunerative e.) entertaining, meaningful, laughable, and significant.

Remember The Max? The Central Perk? Joe's Emerald City Bar? Monk's Cafe? Cheers?

I was thinking yesterday about all the television hangouts that have been made famous throughout the years. The Max is my favorite, because I can remember being in elementary school dreaming about where my hangout would be someday. I think I envisioned The Max, because I'm pretty sure I thought I'd grow up to be Kelly Kapowski.
Many of the shows we all watch now or grew up watching have a common gathering place, a place where they all belong.

I think that's the key, right? Belonging? Everyone wants a place to belong. Like they say, everyone wants a place where everybody knows your name.

I ended my career as a barista (I like to say I was a barista, although I'm not sure that was my official title) yesterday at Rich's Brew, a local coffee shop here in Des Moines.

If there was a sitcom about my life, Rich's Brew would be my place. If I wasn't at home or school, people would just drive out to Rich's and know that I would be sitting at the back table closest to the coffee beans. They would then sit down with me and we would laugh, play cards, and enjoy our place of belonging.

To some extent, that already happens, and I don't even live in a sitcom.
Making your way in the world today takes everything you've got.
Taking a break from all your worries, sure would help a lot.
I've learned in my 5 months working at Rich's Brew that everyone is going through something. Some are tackling new jobs or just trying to find a job in general. Some people are taking care of their sick loved ones or grieving the loss of a parent or spouse. Some are recovering from surgery while others are moving into new homes. And they all come in for coffee. Sure, some ask for extra caramel and others want the coffee as black as it comes, but they all come in for the coffee. They want a break from their worries and a smile to brighten their day. Rich's is rich with comfort and support.
Wouldn't you like to get away?
Sometimes you want to go.
Where everybody knows your name,
and they're always glad you came.
Rich has most drinks started by the time the customer walks in the door. There's a medium vanilla latte who usually comes in a little bit of a hurry. There's a medium mocha who's always talking on the phone and forgetting her keys. There's a large coffee, little bit of vanilla and cream, and two Splendas who was finally convinced to switch to real sugar. There's a four shots of espresso and a one shot americano. There's a large vanilla chai with water, a caramel aulait, and the infamous Paul's Special. Rich's is rich with familiarity.
You wanna be where you can see,
our troubles are all the same
You wanna be where everybody knows your name.
There are so many different groups of people who come into Rich's. The coach's corner sits in the back almost every day of the week. They talk sports, grandbabies, and cause a ruckus you wouldn't believe (I mean that in the grandest sense of the word). The bridge ladies come in on Wednesdays. They eat a lot of chicken salad and paint a picture for me of how much fun retirement will be someday. Sometimes there are business meetings, Bible studies, and tables of high school kids doing homework. Young or old, everybody has a purpose and everyone is welcomed. Rich's is rich with acceptance.
You wanna go where people know,
people are all the same,
You wanna go where everybody knows your name.
Coffee is coffee and people are people. Regardless of where we are in life or how many years separate our ages, we all have something in common. In this sense, Rich's is rich with wisdom, experience, laughter, and all the things we have to share together.

It's arguably the best place in town. And if the people don't convince you, Donna's lemon, poppy seed bread will.

Trust me. Cheers!

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