Tonight marks the last 11 days of the life of Cups & Mugs on Broad Street. The last.
I discovered this little gem in the recesses of my bedroom over Christmas break. After watching Passion 2011 live online and streaming every episode of Pushing Daisies like it was the next big thing, I spent hours watching Twitter and Facebook for some semblance of life. Sure enough - a coffee shop in Rome, something unheard of since the Nest's closing a good six months prior. I was ecstatic and searched through the photos chronicling the makeover of a tiny space on Broad between Ginger's and Johnny's Pizza. Teal, brown, black, red and brick were prominent colors. The faces of the people training and working laboriously to have the space ready for opening seemed inviting, open, fun. Soon after getting home, and by home I mean Rome, I insisted that my friends take me (a carless college student) to this new found glory. "Sarah with an h" became a regular statement when we came in - the baristas knew us well. The owner, Allison Cox, knew us by name. Homework got the better of us and we were often stuck huddled in our little dorms, but as often as possible we made our way to this safe haven. And I do mean safe haven. The mugs were fun - owls, mustaches, superheroes, and so much more. The choices were endless...and you never knew which would hold your toasty beverage of goodness. Now the baristas.. There was the ginger boy who was known for his espresso pours and rosettas - Matthew, not to be confused with Matt, a later addition though just as grand. He even once made a panda. Claire was precious and always in the cutest attire alongside Bruce, Jennifer Bruce. Mark and his mustache made marvelous mochas. And Allison - owner of it all.
I went on my official "date" here at this little coffee shop. I should've done homework that night, but I spent it talking over several cups of tea (they have the most marvelous teas in so many varieties!) with a boy I didn't even like, but found myself romanced by the atmosphere, a place I'd come to call home. My parents came to visit at Easter and I insisted the come by Cups and Mugs to take a gander. I bought my mother a tumbler and tea for Mother's day and she chatted about tea with Allison. Since then, my mom always asks how Cups and Mugs is doing (or mugs and cups) and insists I tell Allison she said hello.
I played guitar in the back where the upside down cake holder side table was with the tiny heater and television. Madison and I tried on our new mustaches and listened to the new Gungor CD. We spent our time in front of that TV doing homework in sour moods while our two other friends, Sarah and Susan, sat feet away chatting in the best of moods. Sarah and I spent countless nights in hoodies and pajama pants talking in front of that heater. We played games on the floor there and completed assignment after assignment for class and spent hours in the Word, being good to our hearts.
After a few visits, the four of us migrated to the couch with the two purple chairs in front of the "Chai me!" sign advertising Big Train Chai. We had many a laugh, many a conversation here. We took pictures of all of us with long curly hair (not too soon before we all had it chopped off...except for Sarah). We came here after Friday night Sunshine Gang dates. We came here on random Saturdays for crepes and pick-me-ups after days of shopping. Jordan had his 21st birthday party here.
Our Sundays consisted of craving Chickfila .... and Cups & Mugs, neither of which we could have on such a day.
This is where Sarah, Madison, Susan, and I became friends - best friends. This is where we bonded. This is where I asked Claire to turn the channel to the Braves game one time so I could watch it. This is where we watched the most random things on the news. This is where the door to the girl's bathroom wouldn't lock for the longest time so we served as "door watchers" for Allison and made sure no one embarrassed someone in the bathroom. This is where we saw many an artist play on Friday nights - even Marc Johnson! This is where we learned to love good coffee - not the kind of coffee that Starbucks makes, but the kind that requires no masking to be enjoyed. This is where I learned about the African Queen and her many flavors, from lavender to a nutty flavor. This is where I learned to love the Kenyan that one time at the beginning and never got it back again, but one day I will.
This is the place I cried when I realized October 8th Cups & Mugs would be closing its doors.
Most of this is for memory's sake. I don't want to forget this place and the memories I've had here. The coffee will be gone and the company will be different, but I'm so thankful for the lessons I've learned and the people I've met. I'm thankful for the laughs and relationships that are irreplaceable. Thank you Allison, Claire, Mark, Matt, Matthew, & Bruce.
It was an "honur."