My favorite coffee shop in the world, and one of my favorite places in the world, is Tate Street Coffee Shop, near UNCG, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Tate Street Coffee is a great coffee shop but it is more than that. It has a lot of the atmosphere of “Cheers”, where everybody knows your name. I have many friends and acquantances there and I cannot wait to visit when I come to Greensboro. I have many memories of great conversations and warm friendships. Here are some of my favorites:
Matt and Ann own and run the coffee shop and do a superb job. I consider them friends. Several years ago, when my dad was in declining health and then passed away, they were very supportive and even came to the funeral service. Just the other day, Matt helped a long time patron, an older gentleman with some home chores.
The older gentleman I just referred to, Larry, was active in journalism and activism. We don’t agree on everything, but we have a lot of common ground and respect each other. Just this morning, Larry told of his long time correspondence with Julie Harris, the famous actress. We discuss a wide variety of subjects and our favorite is the mathematical probabilities that go out the window with “chance encounters”.
One of my best friends Taylor (first name omitted) is a prince of a guy and very interesting. He has invented a clever new board game. Several years ago we were sitting at the coffee shop discussing a variety of topics when the subject of rocket propulsion came up. It turns out his uncle, Theodore Taylor, was a famous scientist that came out with the idea of tiny nuclear explosions to propel spacecraft.
Jimmy is one of the funniest and smartest people I know. He raises money for an organization that works closely with the school systems. He always puts a smile on my face and that is priceless. Jimmy also came to my dad’s funeral.
My friend Nas is originally from Syria. He played soccer in France years ago and gave me the perfect pass years ago allowing me to score my first goal (I played goalkeeper all the time). I just spoke to Nas, who by the way became a US citizen last year. He married a woman in Syria and is trying to get her over here. It is taking a long time and it is very complicated. I wish him well. He is a great guy.
My friend Mark is a special friend with a wide variety of talents. Through hard work, sacrifice and wise decisions, He has an incredible home on the desirable southside of downtown of Greensboro and owes very little on it. He is a great father and friend. He was at the gravesite for my dad’s funeral.
Old sam, as everybody called him, was a fixture around Tate Street and the coffee shop. His real name was Laurence Sams. He passed away last year at an advanced age. He walked all around the area collecting cans to recycle. I would see him early in the morning at the coffee shop and he would always comment on the weather. He was an inspiration to many people. In all kinds of weather he would continue walking and never complain, even though he was old. The story goes that years ago he lost his job when the company went out of business. He had a small living area in part of an old house near Tate Street. The house was being sold, but the lady selling it made a stipulation, that Old Sam would have lifetime residency rights. That is one of the reasons I love Greensboro and Tate Street Coffee. There are some wonderful people here.
There are many more stories and people to write about. Over the years I have increasingly felt the urge to write a book about people I have encountered and how they have touched my life. Perhaps this is the first step.
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