Coffee Share 190615

First, thanks to Robert White of The Everyday Tourist Blog ( ) for this photo from Glen’s Family Restaurant and his Great Wall of Teas in Red Deer, Alberta.

This is a Weekly Coffee Share hosted by Eclectic Alli.
Alli manages a weekly list of posts from a small group of bloggers who want to just stay in touch, chat about blogging, writing, travel, photography, children, pets, work, life hacks or just about anything else that might be of interest.
Link to Last week’s list Link to This week’s list
Link to my Story Blog. Come share a laugh with me.

Good day all,

Welcome back to Tamara’s Teanco Bistro.  I hope this place is starting to feel as  familiar and comfortable as any other fictional place you love to visit.  I’m finding that Tamara herself is like other fictional characters I’ve written about who resist being controlled by her author and likes to dart off unexpectedly to do and say things I never expected.  It’s kinda fun, but a bit like having an exotic pet that no one knows what to expect from.

“Hold it right there, Wilson.  Did you just call me an exotic pet?  No – close your mouth. Don’t answer.  Whatever you say will only dig this hole deeper.

“Good morning everyone, rather than let Gary do this, I’ll give you the news myself.  I’m making a change to the decor of the main dining room.  Just to the left of the fireplace sitting area, beside the Lending Library Book shelf, I’m putting in a Wall of Tea and in an upcoming week I’ll have Gary do a quick overview of the world of teas and how different teas are made. He has some fun insights to share.

“Thanks for coming by for this portion of your Coffee Share visits.  My current teas , or your choice of seven different coffees, are all hot and ready for you.  My team will help you pick one to love if you don’t already have a favorite. Today I have the maple-blueberry scones that my mother’s mother’s mother’s best-friend first created.  I use only real maple syrup and real fresh blueberries to make them really good. They never last long so move quickly if the thought appeals.  There are also fresh strawberries and blueberries to go with your drink and scone.

“Okay Gary, back to you.”

Thanks Tamara, and no, I did not call you an exotic pet.  I was invoking the image of some unique critter who few know what to expect from, to compare you to.  You are the reciprocal of predictable, just another part of your charm.

And, those squinty eyes you’re staring at me with now; are they reptilian or mammalian?  You are too exotic for common biological taxonomy.  But whatever, you’re still so cute I just want to cuddle you and scratch behind your ears.

“And that deep rumble you would hear would not be a purr but a forewarning of a near-death experience.”

Okay, enough threats of endearment for today.  Remember I love you girl.

Now on her way back out to the main room, Tamara finishes with, “And I love you more than toast itself.”

Wow.  Is good or bad? Lets go get our food and drinks and meet back here for our sharing time.

– – = = ( o ) = = – –

In the past few weeks, a group of friends and family lost someone who was a major player in our lives.  She died kind-of unexpectedly a couple of weeks ago and I was at her memorial service just last Sunday.

When I was 16 I visited a church and met a gal a couple of years older than me.

I had never met anyone like her.  Denise (her real name) had the most amazing personality.  She was audaciousness and owned any room she was in.  She had an amazing ability of thinking at a rate few could keep up with.  She loved reading, her friends and (best of all) adventures.

We hit it off immediately and began to provoke each other in all kinds of wonderful ways.

I introduced her and our church gang to my favorite author; George R. Stewart sometime near 1970, and starting with his book titled, Earth Abides.  We tied into many of the ideas Mr. Stewart introduced and we could still be caught digesting it together in 2018.

But, it was not just that one book or author, it was several.  Decades before Book Clubs, became a thing, we were doing it partially because Denise was leading us into the love of books.  I already shared that love, but others were catching the bug from her.

Small groups of us often ended up at her home, stretched out in front of the fireplace together in, how do I say this, non-romantic cuddle piles. Yes, we were piled together, arms around each other, talking books, laughing, clearing the kitchen of snacks, thinking great thoughts out loud and often persuading others of our CORRECT view of fine literary points with the power of a pillow.  We were all teenagers – so of course we had lots of pillow fights.  Her mom pretty much trusted us not to tear down the house and stayed out of sight.

Our church was Penngrove Community Church and when we all went off to summer camp together, the kids from other churches learned about how close our group was when Denise and I led the them down to a nearby meadow  to create a new form of fellowship.  One person would lay down in the grass but keep their arms straight up.  Two others would lay down with their heads on that person’s stomach and lift their arms.  This opened up 2 more stomachs and slots for 4 more people.  Other than the rule of making sure everyone had a stomach for a pillow, the rest was a free-for-all of friends diving in to get a stomach to lie on.  When everyone had a place, we all put our hands down somewhere safe, because there were lots of girls in the pile and we did not have to be told to be careful.

So – this created a formation of teenage bodies, lying interlocked with every head using someone’s stomach for a pillow.  The next phase started the fun.  Someone would say something funny causing someone else to laugh, which bounced the heads on their stomachs, which caused the owners of those heads to laugh, which bounced the heads on their stomach.

This cycle of perpetual laughing was almost impossible to stop.  Kids from other churches would wander by and we would invite them to find an open stomach and join the fun.  I wish we had photos of some of the epic mosaics we formed because we always lot count of the number of kids in a given pile.

These intricate jig-saws of teenage bodies were called, ‘Penngrove Piles’ and became enormously popular. They quickly spread to other events that involved other camps or activities.  If we were there, Denise and I were always right in the middle somewhere – spreading the joy.

There developed a core group of four of us, two boys and two girls. Doesn’t this sound like a perfect formula for two teenage romances?  Well, in this case it did not. I don’t have permission from two of them to use their real names, so Hugh and Maddie became the other non-couple with Denise and I in this core group.  We were often together even for non-church related adventures. I led us to various beach trips and explorations of the storm drains or hillsides of Petaluma.  Denise led us to twisted versions of late night snipe hunts and “hot dates” because pathologically she could not pass up a pun. Her idea of a hot date involved actual dates – the fruit – and matches to heat them up with.

I secured use of the family boat sometimes, and the four of us haunted Lake Berryessa (California) with swimming, skiing, underwater lake weed forests explorations and lake weed wars.  The weed in this lake was a type that had long stalks, with parsley-like leaves.  In shallow water, you could reach down, grab a hand-full and pull.  This brought up several stalks with about an inch of mud that worked well as a sling with an exploding payload of mud.  We would swing it around and let it fly towards one of our best friends and if we aimed well, were rewarded with an explosive plumb of muck which covered close to our your friends exposed body.  Everyone would wale at what a great shot that had been while the victim would duck down into the water which would cause all the mud to fall off and the game continued.

I can only recall one time when things went sideways.  One of my missiles caught Denise turning to target me with one of her own and took the hit right to the side of her face.  We dashed to her and found that a huge pad of mud was in her eye.  Without asking, I immediately found a relatively clean piece of lake weed, folded it and used it as a scoop to gently lift the mud out of her eye and made sure her contact was still in there.  Hostilities halted with medical care was provided.

If it was a hot day, the rule was anyone could call “Fire Drill” and I would kill the engine, no matter how fast we were going, and we’d all abandon ship into the cool water.  Laughing, we would swim and catch up with the drifting boat and continue our journey.

Denise had ‘ dare you’ streak.  She loved reminding me of the day she snatched my car keys, dropped them down into her bra and dared me to do something about it.  This was way over the top for her, which made it consistent with her personality, because she knew I could not resist a dare.  On the other hand, I was not about to be baited into digging into he bra. She knew this would leave me with a ripping dilemma. We were right in front of my home and my dad walked out just in time to see me try to solve the problem by picking her up, turning her upside down and shaking her violently up and down to try and dislodge my keys.  I learned how tough a bra could be because I could not shake her enough to retrieve my keys, but we laughed for years over that stunt.

Denise had some painful drama as a young girl, but when she pulled together this safe group of friends – she made up for any bad memories by making tonnes of great ones.  She left an indelible mark on anyone she was close to.

I will be forever thankful that I was among those she chose as a close friend.  Her heart was huge, but later in life, it was found to have a weakness that the doctors could not correct. We lost her when that heart gave up, way too early.

I will miss her until I catch up with her again in the heaven that she dragged me closer to.

– – = = ( o ) = = – –

Thanks again, and again, and to Alli for hosting our get together.

To select another story, please visit the full index by clicking here.

Gary photo n bio