Tag Archive | Picasso’s Coffeehouse

The People You Meet on the Street

Living on three acres for the last 17 years, Halloween night brings zero trick or treaters in our neighborhood. Quiet and secluded, it’s far from an inviting atmosphere for children seeking candy.

Restless and ready to do something different this Halloween, the dogs and I hopped in the car, and met the hubster at a quirky coffeehouse on historic Main Street in St. Charles. Picasso’s was the perfect spot to watch the kiddos in their cute Halloween costumes parade through the streets. There were original costumes for sure, but more interesting were the people we met on the street.

Young children, Millenial hipsters, and baby boomers with dogs stopped to greet our friendly canine fur babies, as we sat at the quaint café table sipping cappuccinos.

Bordeaux, our Bernese Mountain Dog/Aussie mix, whined as a beautiful Spaniel came into view, with its owners. Our mini Aussie, Sabrina, approached the dog cautiously. A few quick sniffs of the dark chocolate and cream Spaniel met with her approval.  Bordeaux was more than happy to lock snouts with the pooch in an all-out sniff-off.

Holly and Tom, the dog’s owners, pulled up a couple chairs across the entrance to Picasso’s to chat with us. A lively conversation ensued, initially centering around the topic of dogs.

Their Spaniel, Jasper, was included in many of their outings, since they were empty-nesters. I shared with the couple, we weren’t so lucky to have children, but the dogs and cats were our spoiled-rotten kids.

We talked about a lot of things, and eventually the conversation lead to favorite vacations, and the perks I’ve come to enjoy writing for a travel magazine.

I expressed my love for Michigan, and they let me in on a secret about Seattle and the San Juan Islands. They mentioned I should visit Reno and Lake Tahoe, and I wouldn’t shut up about islands in the Caribbean.

I discovered they were florists, whose family had been in the business for more than 85 years. Turns out, we even know some of the same authors. Their greenhouse, Parkview Gardens, hosts an author event in September. They suggested I drop by the shop for a visit when I’m in the area.

Chatting for more than an hour…the conversation flowed naturally. Time passed quickly, and the sky morphed from yellow-orange to blue-violet. Lights entwined on nearby trees twinkled and shimmered on cobblestone streets.

Holly and Tom graciously acknowledged it was time for Jasper’s meds, and they should probably head home.

While my conversation was coming to a close with the couple, my husband was actively engaged in a talk with the male patron at the next table. Over coffee and a cigar, the man spoke about his third round of chemo — his battle with cancer. The hubster shared with the man, our friend Dave’s story – diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. With three months to live, three years ago, Dave beat cancer – a walking miracle. The man occasionally scribbled in his notebook as the two talked. Later, hubby learned he was a writer.

Part of talking is listening. If you listen, you’ll realize there’s more to the person on the street than meets the eye.

Sometimes I’m guilty of not listening. But I’m working on it.

So take the time to listen to people’s stories. From their words and stories, you might just find off-the-beaten places to explore, like funky coffeehouses or restaurants, and their love of animals.

Who knows, you may find a deeper connection with this person, and learn about their quest to stay alive.

“Please be a traveler, not a tourist. Try new things, meet new people, and look beyond what’s right in front of you. Those are the keys to understanding this amazing world we live in.” 

Andrew Zimmern

Some people I’ve met on the street….

Jean Cruguet, Triple Crown/Kentucky Derby Winner, jockey for Seattle Slew.Met in Lexington, KY

DSC_0567 Jean Crugeut and me copyr

Lukas, a sand castle builder. Met in Sunset Beach, NC

DSCN0848 Lukas and sandcastle

Skully, an Australian vet, who walks in support of the “Run for the Wall” event originating in Rancho Cucamonga, California, ending in DC. Met in Wentzville, MO

DSC_1128 skully copyright

 

 

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A Few Kind Words and Some Beautiful Melodies

Having been pent up in the house for the past two weeks with back spasms and other menopausal ailments, I organized a much-needed evening with friends Tina, Donna and Patt.

We decided to meet at Picasso’s Open Mic Night in St. Charles, Missouri.   Picasso’s is a coffeehouse I have frequented for years, first patronizing the original location in O’Fallon.

As I entered the cafe, I was quickly directed to Dave, the host for the evening. Dave was a young good looking guy sporting a navy yarn cap with light blue bill.

I introduced myself.  He asked if I was a singer, and I laughed silently.

“No, I’m a writer.”

“Great.  I’ll put you down on the list.”  On the chalkboard, he squeezed me in after the first five singers.

The evening progressed with an eclectic mix of musicians.  Patrons filled the coffeehouse to the brim.

It was so refreshing to actually hear new voices, original songs and great melodies. I especially enjoyed the medley of popular songs Dave and his Dad sang from the Baby Boomer generation.  Another favorite was Chris Griffin.   What wonderful talent I thought, and shared my feelings with Tina.

Well, it was my turn.  Dave introduced me as a writer and I stepped up to the mic.

My choice was the essay that gave me the confidence I needed as a writer.  “The Perfect Day” first appeared in Cuivre River Anthology IV and again in “The Folly Current Newspaper.”

Unsure of how I would be received, I was thankful the smooth and mellow tones of 17-year old Caroline put everyone in a Zen mood.  I was surprisingly wired, but relaxed – induced by the sublime Expresso Martini I ordered earlier in the evening made by the crafty barista-bartender at Picasso’s.

While reading my musings, I surveyed the intimate setting and the faces of the audience.  Surprisingly, everyone was listening.  I tried not to look down, but rather into the crowd – a discipline I learned through public speaking.

As I spoke my last few words, I felt good.

Our host, Dave, walked back to the mic and thanked me for reading.  The audience clapped.  I retreated to the security and comfort of our table.

A few minutes later, the need to use restroom was in order.  As I snaked my way through the crowd to the back of the cafe, something cool happened.   Maybe four twenty-somethings approached me saying “great essay”, “awesome story.”  Some inquired if I was a writer.  I was proud to say yes.

But the best compliment of all came from a young man who had gone through five heart surgeries.  “I loved your story.  It was special.”

That comment made the evening all worth it.

As I sat down (with a big fat smile on my face), I thanked the Lord for a great evening with friends, and rocked out to the funk music of John, and the sweet harmonies of Josiah and Becky.

Open Mic Night. Sure.  Sign me up.