I don't remember when I started liking coffee, but it has taken years for me to need, I mean appreciate it completely. My love affair with this legal mildly addictive stimulant began innocently enough. I started off just liking the smell of coffee. I am sure the next step was to like some blend of coffee. Knowing me, I am sure the first thing I tried was a mocha. A Starbucks caramel macchaito was one of my first faves. I switched to a caramel mocha next, and then briefly had a fling with hazelnut cappuccinos. Sometime before parenthood, I actually started drinking coffee each morning, and when Alex came along, we promised to raise him right. I can remember when he was just a baby, we would get a vanilla bean, which is basically steamed milk with vanilla syrup, and put it in his bottle. His favorites are their boxes of apple juice or chocolate milk, but he also loves a kid's hot chocolate.
My husband and I are both such big fans of Starbucks that when traveling, we make our pit stops at Starbucks. On the route from my parent's house to his, I can tell you every exit that has a Starbucks. It is this habit that almost cost us our lives one spring night. OK, that may be a little dramatic, but I was afraid I was losing my non-coffee crowd.
It was March 31, 2006. Alex was only about 18 months old, and we were visiting Charlie's parents for the weekend. We had only been parents for five months! For two hours, we were driving just north but parallel to an ominous thunderstorm all through Indiana. At Indianapolis, it looked like we finally got ahead of the storm. Our trek turned south as we got on I-65 and prepared to stop at our Greenville Starbucks. We had all of our drinks in tow and were ready for the last leg of our trip when the wind picked up. It was blowing so hard, I could barely open the doors, and it was actually lifting our car. Charlie grabbed Alex and told me to run back inside. The wind was pushing on my car door so hard that I couldn't open it. I had to climb out the driver's side.
Once inside, the sirens went off, alerting all of the coming tornado. Quickly we were all ushered into the women's bathroom. I think there were about 15 of us - strangers who quickly bonded as we rode the storm out. Even when he was young, Alex was friendly. He wanted one of the guys in a baseball hat to hold him. He was a crowd favorite. I managed to stay calm even with my brand new precious cargo in harm's way and my mocha in my car :(. We had to stay in the bathroom for about 45 minutes until the warning expired. The tornado touched-down about 1/4 of a mile away from us, and the buildings next door had some damage. God kept us safe. When we emerged from the bathroom, the workers even made us all free drinks.
Each time we travel that route, we have to stop at our store. Most of the employees from that night have moved on, but we still love to stop. Many of my mom-friends joke about coffee being a lifesaver, but in my case, it is true!