Coffee, Tea and Sake

 

Are you interested in a writers’ group?” The words were scrawled on a sheet of paper circulating at a local community college writing class. I took a quick breath and signed my name. That reluctant act introduced me to six lovers of the written word. Our informal group began in 2006 and continues to this day.

None of us considered ourselves writers. But we were enthusiastic, and after seven years of sharing our stories, we combined a selection into an anthology, printed for personal use, entitled “Coffee, Tea and Sake.”

The title paid homage to the three cultures of our group: four Americans (Bill, Barbara, Donna and Dick), two English (another Bill and me) and one Japanese member (Miyoko). On the back cover of the anthology is a group photograph taken on my deck. Sadly, the lovely lady on my left is no longer with us. Donna, the wife of English Bill, died this year.

Donna was a beautiful spirit who grew up in Hagerstown, Indiana, a place she describes that at the time of her youth was “a small town of 1,400 conservative, skeptical people.” I’ve been re-reading our anthology and teared up when I came to one of Donna’s stories: “Flying High.”

Donna writes that as a young girl of 10, her father, who fulfilled his dream of learning how to fly, surprises her with an airplane ride. She’s both excited and scared as she sits in the passenger seat while her father hand-cranks the propeller.

Donna is certain the plane will take off without him. Sadly, this occurred later when her mother was the passenger. The plane dragged her father down the airstrip until her mother could put on the brake. That wasn’t the end of her father, but it was the end of his enthusiasm for flying. But, Donna writes, her father left her with a respect for a man “who honored his dreams … made those dreams come true … and taught me about flying high with my dreams.”

 

Donna’s husband, Bill, grew up in an English village three miles from Windsor Castle. Villagers could see the Royal Family passing through on their way to Buckingham Palace.

“Where the Buses Always Ran On Time” is one of my favorite Bill stories.

 

 

Pauline Nevins  January 2, 2021 - Auburn Journal

 

 

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