When my daughter was small I’d throw her in the umbrella stroller and head down to Java Junction. Java is a quirky-cool coffee shop in my little town in Western NY. It is a place where you can grab a cup of coffee and a fresh baked scone and settle right in. Kids and babies are always welcome. So, when my, now thirteen year old, daughter was just a wee thing, I would escape to Java.
I could nurse her without being looked at sideways or being asked to leave. I could sit for as long as I wanted while she slept peacefully in the stroller or squirmed in my arms. As she grew, she didn't just want breast milk though, I could get her a bagel or a grilled cheese and a lidded cup of juice. I was given cookies and smiles and boxes of crayons for her active little hands. It didn't matter if she was fussy or quiet; she –and all children—were always welcome.
Fast forward a few years and my son came into the picture. Now, I had new infant snuggled in the sling as well as a slow-shuffling toddler. The five minute walk now took what felt like twenty years. Yet still, we went and the years passed swiftly by. Soon, strollers and slings and wagons were abandoned and we would walk and skip and sometimes dance to our downtown destination.
We’d meet friends or have coffee with my husband. We’d have prolonged breakfasts that eased into leisurely lunches. We’d run in for a cold drink in the summer or a cookie and hot cocoa in the winter. Today we still go to Java, though everyone can get there on their own steam, and my girl can now go there all by herself when the urge calls to her.
The sense of home and love and family is why I chose to pass out Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City to my friends at Java Junction for the second year in a row. There we all sat with coffee and bagels and tea and cookies. Several of us sent our kids off to school that morning, and others came with toddlers and infants. We passed around little baby Phin and I looked at his sweet face as he swatted Cheerios on the table. I saw my girl and boy and every “Java Baby” in his eyes, and I knew I had chosen the right place, the right people, the right book; a book that could take us far away to the other coast to visit with Mona and Mrs. Madrigal, and Mary Ann. We could close our eyes and see a city bright with life in the not too distant past. Each and every one of us needed an escape and a gift, and I was thrilled to be able to hand over those books to some very happy women.
Thanks to World Book Night 2014 for making this all possible.