Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Greg's On the Square


Every town, I imagine, has its secrets. Every town has its political scandals, its shameful, undisclosed portions of history, and its unsolved mysteries. It is both presumptuous and naive of me to say that I have stumbled on a secret which most of the Gonzales natives have yet to discover, but so it goes. I can't help myself. 

One of the best-kept secrets of Gonzales is a coffee shop on The Square.

Roughly once a week, I find myself returning to that beautifully historical portion of the town known as The Square. Where exactly "The Square" is, I still haven't figured out. As far as I can tell, there are three or four squares, and I can never recall which road leads to which square. Nonetheless, I somehow make it through the maze of traffic lights, churches, and parked vehicles to Greg's Coffee Shop. Call it a gift.

Greg's is one amid the myriad of historical buildings on The Square.  I once heard someone negatively refer to it as "an old building."  But then perhaps you must first live in the dizzying metroplex of Dallas to appreciate the charm of a coffee shop in a historical building on The Square of Gonzales.  I even love it for its constant coffee-shop-in-the-making feel, due to the remodeling.  I love it for its coffee shop aroma, its wide variety of specialty beverages, and exotic selection of beans for home-brewing. I love it for its friendly baristas and my beloved extra-hot latte. I love it for its picturesque view of The Square, which always stirs in my heart a desire for an impulsive walk through historical, mysterious Gonzales.  And so Greg's has become the place where I escape the drudgeries of housework and grocery shopping for a romantic cup of coffee. 

And there is romance in coffee. That is key to discovering Greg's. If you don't appreciate the romance in coffee, then you may forever see Greg's as just another old building.  I love coffee for so much more than a caffeine rush, the aroma, or even the flavor.  What I love is the way it brings people together.  I cannot tell you how my heart leaps every time my husband brings me a warm, flavorful latte from Greg's while I'm at work.  Whether I'm having a wonderful day or the worst day, for the few moments that encompass the gift he brings, I am delighted and glowing.  There is something very special about the gift of a hot cup of coffee. 

On another note, I cannot tell you how many introductions have been made over a cup of Joe. The coffee shop atmosphere seems to invoke opportunities to make conversation and form new friendships.  With my former experiences serving coffee, I have seen on countless occasions that it often represents a threshold; it is an invitation from being strangers to becoming friends. 

And then there are other situations in which groups of people gather around coffee with their Bibles, or coffee with desert, or coffee with their newspapers, or coffee with… well, the list could go on and on. For myself, though, there is no more prestigious position to find myself in than that of partaking in coffee with the women in my family. At every family gathering, this is my goal and my hope. Perhaps it is more prestigious to win the Nobel Prize or to be a Poet Laureate, but at the moment nothing in my mind presents itself as more appealing.  It is rare that I ever partake in these special moments, but when I do, I am delighted. The women are, or were at one time known as the Claggs. And when they are together, chocolate and coffee will be found as well. And there will be laughter, stories, miscommunications, and perhaps the occasional competitive card game of Nerts.

  This is my personal experience of falling in love with coffee and the special moments it brings. And it is my belief that far too few citizens in our town have given themselves over to this beautiful romance. Despite the fact that I have never heard the phrase, "Oh, I don't drink coffee," so many times as I have since i have moved into town, I must contend that others in this town find it romantic, too.  Sometimes, they are gazing through the windows of Dairy Queen. Sometimes, they rendezvous in more exclusive gatherings. But I see them. It happens. Groups of older men meet regularly to drink coffee in this town, and there is no use in denying it.  I have seen it with my own eyes, and it is a remarkable sight to behold.  The pride and wisdom of Gonzales are without a doubt the men who have lived to see so much more than I have. And while their personal cup of Joe is found in the diner atmosphere, they seem to agree that discovering coffee in Gonzales is worth the trouble. Perhaps, then, you don't have to go to Greg's to enjoy the rich enchantment that coffee brings. But then again, perhaps you ought to give Greg's a try, too. And who knows? Perhaps you will even feel compelled to take an impetuous walk through the picturesque town square and rediscover Gonzales for yourself. 

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