In 2005, I drove from Pipestone, Minnesota to Sioux Falls, South Dakota, every single day, to work as a phone banker at the Wells Fargo Phone Bank. I loved my job, especially the drive. It was 45 minutes of heaven, driving through the hilly lands of Southwestern Minnesota and Eastern South Dakota, the land dotted with cattle and dead motorcyclists.
About 10 minutes into the drive, the town of Jasper, MN would come into view. My heart would skip a beat and I would turn the car into the large parking lot of the Jasper Mini Mall. Jasper Mini Mall was just a gas station, but had all the trappings of a small town. A coffee dispenser sat in the back, right beside a pile of homemade cinnamon rolls.
I did the same thing every morning. I would grab a cup, fill it with coffee and grab a cinnamon roll. A breakfast of champions. The coffee had a very distinct taste. Not bitter or weak. A bit sweet, maybe hinting of maple syrup. It never changed and I loved it.
Then, last September, my marriage was struggling, and I took my wife out to the country for our anniversary. We drove through around the dirt roads, she taking pictures, me rolling my eyes at her need to take pictures (yes…that was part of the reason we were struggling…me, with my disrespect) and looking at windmills.
We ambled our way to Jasper and I pulled into the Mini Mall parking lot. This was 10 years after I drank my last cup of coffee and I wanted to see if it still tasted the same.
I walked through the door and was flooded with memories. Everything was exactly the same. The same coffee dispenser that had been there in 2005 was still sitting there. The cinnamon rolls were gone and in their place sat banana bread. I grabbed a cup – the same cups as had always been there – filled it to the brim with coffee and lifted the cup to my lips.
The coffee hit my tongue and tasted the same as it always had. I slurped it down, finishing the cup before I hit the door.