Yesterday was my seventy-fourth birthday, a not particularly auspicious or momentous event. My wife was away on business and my best and closest friend, Jack, ( he claims that I am his favorite American author, bless his heart) took me down to Portland where we feasted on turkey and steak pies at a British Pub called Horse Brass. One beer and I was at my limit.
It was a lovely day for having a pub lunch. A cool rain was spattering the walks and washing any remaining summer dust off the roof tiles. Leaves that have turned to Fall colors clogged the drains and stuck to the bottoms of my shoes. After years in arid climates, I may never get over my love affair with rain and damp leaves.
While I was waiting for the bill, I reached into my sweater pocket to take a closer look at the folded piece of paper that one of the girls (they call themselves The Girls so I am not committing a sin) had handed me as I was on my way out of the coffee house. It was a hand-drawn birthday card with all the names of all the wonderful people that work at the Brewed Awakenings. All their names were coded in various degrees of fancy print or brawling script with little symbols drawn at the end. I especially liked the one with the exclamation mark made with a tiny heart at the bottom–thank you Cheyanne.
I can’t remember how many (it will have been a huge number) coffee houses that I have frequented over the years. Not one of them has ever given me a hand-decorated card with an little heart inscribed. I’m not one to ascribe deep and hidden meaning to such things, but surely you will forgive me for taking away a warm feeling in my heart. Somewhere in my next book will appear a facsimile of Brewed Awakenings and a note passed to an obscure character with a little heart inscribed after the words Happy Birthday.