Everyday Empathy

Lost Creek Falls

Summer is coming to a close. Not sure how I feel about that. I decided to take the morning off to hit Lost Creek Falls (a must-see waterfall in Bayfield County) and do some book editing at one of my favorite coffee shops in the planet – Cornucopia Coffee and Sweet Shoppe.

I arrived at the Shop about 20-minutes after it opened. It was packed with two tables of local guys waiting for their breakfast. The owner, Justine appeared frazzled. As soon as we made contact, she immediately apologized for being off.

August in this area is tough. It is feast or famine in this area. There’s a workforce shortage. Everyone is running out of energy and doing the best they can. Locals understand this. Yet, she immediately apologized for well, being human.

I checked in to make sure she was ok. Told her to hang in and that summer would soon be over. It was a minute long exchange at best while she scrambled to take care of everyone else. I then ordered my oversized vanilla latte and settled in to get some editing done. They were running short on breakfast goods so I took a pass, in hopes it would help tourists would get their fill.

Cornucopia Coffee and Sweet Shoppe

Over the course of the next 20-minutes, I watched her scramble back and forth making sure everyone had what they needed. In return, I watched this group of locals tell her everything was alright. That she was doing great. That they were in fact in no rush. And when the scones didn’t turn out perfect, they were more than willing to take a few off her hands at a discount and tell her they tasted just as wonderful. Before leaving, a hug was exchanged with just one of the many locals who is also a friend.

It was a beautiful exchange of beautiful people. Remember that? Back in the day when we slowed down and treated each other like humans. When we kept things in perspective and gave people the benefit of the doubt. That we believed that perhaps we were all doing the best we can do?

A few minutes later, Justine stopped by and dropped a hot breakfast on my table. On the house. Totally unexpected. Totally appreciated. I mention it, not because I did anything to deserve it, but because it was an unexpected gift from someone that is frankly amazing. Someone that embodies what it means to be a great community steward.

Once upon a time, I wanted to open a coffee shop because I believe it can bring a community together. COVID-19 has created a lot of division but today I was reminded that coffee and conversation and community is still alive and well in Bayfield County. And that everyday empathy–simply asking someone how they are doing, acknowledging that life is complicated, or that perhaps we are all a bit more weary—is a real thing. It goes a long way. So today, a shout out to Justine for reminding me how far a little kindness can go. AND a BIG thank you for an incredible latte, breakfast and spot to work on my book. I cannot wait to come back!  

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