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“CLOSE THE DOOR BEHIND YOU” reads the terse note. I’m entering Cranky Al’s. Jim has been talking about this place for weeks. It is his favorite coffee and donut shop, conveniently located on his way home from Saturday yoga. He has raved about it so much that I had to put it on the chalkboard […]

“CLOSE THE DOOR BEHIND YOU” reads the terse note. I’m entering Cranky Al’s. Jim has been talking about this place for weeks. It is his favorite coffee and donut shop, conveniently located on his way home from Saturday yoga. He has raved about it so much that I had to put it on the chalkboard

It’s a Saturday, about 10:30. The place is quiet but as we get to the counter we can tell it has been a busy morning. The donut selection is sparse; there are only two crullers left. We order them, along with our coffee. We head to a small table looking directly onto North Avenue.  Al’s is cool and funky with rich brown walls and tables flanked with re-claimed church pews

The pace in the shop has picked up. There is now a line waiting to be served. A man appears from the back to help out. Cranky Al? I take a sip of my coffee and realize the cream has been forgotten. I head back up to the counter. I hear the perhaps Al say, “People stand back, these folks are from South Dakota and clearly they don’t know what they are doing.”

Perhaps Al spies me. “What’s wrong with your coffee?” he says.

“I need some cream.”

“Did you ask for cream?”

“……. I think so.” I respond timidly.

“You probably didn’t.” he says gruffly.

The whole time his eyes twinkle, he clearly enjoys razzing his customers and living up to his name.

While Jim and I drink our coffee and enjoy our Crullers, a pyramid of pink iced donuts with sprinkles appears on the table next to us. Exactly the donuts you would want if you were 8 years old. Balloons arrive and then a grown up tray of muffins and a carafe of coffee. The children and their parents arrive, a birthday party, a Saturday morning birthday party, with coffee. What wise parents that 8-year-old has.

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