Published on March 7th, 2013 | by Taylor Majewski0
Ode to a Coffee Shop
This is a personal essay to compliment my painting series: Ode to a Coffee Shop. The paintings were inspired by my daily trips to Dave’s Coffee, located in Charlestown, Rhode Island. Some of the paintings were featured in UCLA’s New Wight Gallery in a student exhibition.
The small ding of the jingle bell attached to the decaying wooden door is the most comforting sound in the world. The bell rests on the top of the door, connecting quiet coffee shop-goers to the outside world, and welcoming locals to get their caffeinated morning buzz. From the inside of dimly lit coffee bar, that ding reminds me of my oasis of mochas and cranberry muffins, which I return for every morning to prepare me for the summer day ahead.
I sit in Dave’s coffee shop reading the Providence Journal, watching as people shuffle in, clad in bathing suits, t-shirts and sandy feet. Families pick up raspberry smoothies, cookies and iced coffees for the beach.
I’m sitting in my favorite couch in the corner of the coffee shop, where an oil painting of a blonde woman wearing a red dress sits on the local Rhode Island sand, a sunhat draped over her curls. I look at her every morning. She must have come to Dave’s at some point, just like I do every day. The smell of candles and coffee beans overwhelm the room I’m reading in, which is enclosed by small paintings and endless shelves of books. More copies of the newspaper are scattered on the nearby tables, where tanned mothers and friendly fishermen sit, sipping their coffees. My name is called and I pick up my mocha from the wooden counter. I walk to another small table covered with an orange tablecloth: the milk and sugar table. It is always decorated with brightly colored jars and containers, painted by the teenage baristas. I pour the tiniest bit of milk into my coffee from the red mug. I pass through the creaky wooden door, the belling dinging as I walk out.
When I recommend that anyone traveling through Rhode Island stop and get a coffee at Dave’s, I know they won’t miss the landmark. The coffee shop rests inside a pink house, placed directly along the highway heading into Charlestown, Rhode Island. On sunny days, the front lawn of the shop is adorned with ornate picnic tables, protected by the shade of bright yellow umbrellas.
At the beginning of every summer, my family and I drive from Connecticut to Rhode Island, those yellow umbrellas signifying the end of our journey. The golden canopies have been the finish line of many voyages I’ve had during my summers in Charlestown. As we do each year on our first day at the shore, my two sisters and I wipe the rust off our beach-cruisers, venture towards the highway, and make the dangerous trek towards Dave’s on our purple and blue bikes. The ride inspires the adventures we will have for the rest of the summer.
As I’ve gotten older, the whizzing of cars passing me as I ride my bike to Dave’s has become less thrilling. The highway has begun to look less like an unknown and dangerous land and more like an ugly, congested freeway. But the yellow umbrellas are there every year, bringing me peace when I finally do step inside the small coffee shop. That same coffee-bean smell will always greet me as a pass through the white door, the same ding , welcoming me home. Even though I may change with the passing of summers, Dave’s remains the same, accepting of the old and new versions of myself.