Having Thanksgiving behind us means we’ve all jumped on the steep,Â Crisco-slathered slide to Christmas and the New Year. Better hold on to your tuque, eh.
The Blather clanÂ made a quick 36-hour runÂ to Oklahoma City for feasting and football.Â The venue wasÂ Mrs Blather’s mom’s andÂ stepdad’s. The gratitude was running particularlyÂ high this year because last ChristmasÂ Pa-pa, as the girls call him, was in Baptist Hospital’s ICU and having a very, veryÂ hard time of it.
We spent the days right around Christmas taking turns hanging out in the ICU waiting room. Much less grim-itude for this holiday. He still has some battles to fight and win but it was good to see him smile and joke.
On the way out of town as we headed homeward Friday, I made the requisite stop at a Starbucks for a caffeine infusion. A few of my passengers wanted something as well, so I took orders and headed inside.
Note: What I tend to order at Starbuck’s always comes in at under $2. What each of my passengers tends to order, on the other hand,Â invariably obliterates all but a fewÂ tiny fragments of aÂ $5 bill. Which is why I usually try to go there alone, but sometimes that’s just not possible.
With some embarrassment, I placed my complex, multi-faceted, frothy-frappy, soy-enchantedÂ order with the guy behind the register and, before he could total it up, the “barista” working the espresso machine shouted out “18.27!” The register guy punched a few more buttons, hit “Total” and, lo and behold, the damage was $18.27. He laughed, shook his head, and said, “Amazing. He calls it every time.”
I feignedÂ mild puzzlement and said, “So. . .your barista’s an idiot savant?”
He thought that was hilarious. Then he felt compelled to point out that in addition to his mad math skillz, the guy had recently won the Oklahoma state barista competition.Â Upon my return to the car, IÂ let myÂ passengers know their drinks had been made by the very best in Oklahoma. . . who also happened to be a high-functioning Rainman.
The consensus wasÂ that they tasted a little better than usual. The placebo effect in action, I suspect. But who am I toÂ douse our first twinkles of holiday magic withÂ the hoseÂ of reality?
I may be a grumbly Scrooge about coffee drinks. But I’m no Grinch.