Still, something important has happened: Our local Caribou Coffe is closing.
I'm so sad.
I know it's a chain, but it seems like a fairly reputable chain. They are 100% Rainforest Alliance certified -- whatever that means. They give me 50 cents off when I bring in my own cup.
Here we are sitting outside Caribou on New Year's Day.
It's a place we walk to at least once a week.
Caribou is closing because a local restaurant offered twice the rent that Caribou is currently paying. I hate that restaurant. Yes, I resent it because it drove Caribou away, but the two times I've been to that restaurant, bad things happened. Once Earl and I went and he bit into something metal in his food. (I'm not sure why we didn't sue them. Then maybe they wouldn't be able to afford to take over the Caribou space.) The other time I went to the restaurant with a bunch of girlfriends and a waitress spilled an entire Coke down one friend's back. (You remember that don't you, Stephanie?) To apologize, they offered her a cellophane wrapped cookie rather than offering to pick up her check. This place obviously has no people skills.
Even before we moved here, I spent a lot of time in Caribou. That's where I started retreating in the early mornings with my laptop. I wrote my first two books tucked into a corner at Caribou, sitting on the hard wooden bench, listening to the whirr of the coffee bean grinder.
I can still taste the creme horn pastry that I used to buy as my fingers tapped away, creating characters like the homeschool mom Annie who sold her minivan and ran away to Europe with her three kids. Or the two women, Jess and Andi who decided hiking the Appalachian trail was the best diet plan they could find.
I love the open ceiling that shows duct work painted a dark rust orange. The floors are green concrete except for a raised wooden section in the middle. The decor is Craftsman style, which is the style of the house we ended up buying when we moved closer. Not that we bought here just to be closer to Caribou.
Earl and I had many date nights at Caribou. It was one of the attractions that first brought us to this little town. And my friend Sheila and I have met at Caribou more times than I can count. We settle into leather arm chairs and lament the price of motherhood.
So the closing Caribou leaves a gap. Sure, there are other coffee shops nearby, but this Caribou felt like a community.
Oh Caribou, we hardly knew ye...