I woke up this morning with a Schnappsidee, the great German expression for the kind of inspiration that could (usually) only come from a few glasses too many of, well, schnapps. As it happened, the last alcohol I had had, other than hand sanitizer, was a rather good Coin Margarita two nights ago at one of Boulder’s premier Mexican restaurants. And that drink, for better or worse, had long since lost its potency for revelation...
My idea was to invite Cedar, my hardworking New England wife, to a Monday-morning coffee at the Trident. Now, the Trident is Boulder’s iconic West Pearl Street ‘60s café, still known today among established Boulderites as the place where all the hippies resettled here from the East Coast and occasionally Northern California would spend their mornings exchanging wisdoms and shaking their long, greying hair. Those folks still attend, remaining hair shorter these days, but so do the occasional students from C.U., the Boulder-located main campus of the University of Colorado, and everyone else in between. Out front you will also find a box of one-dollar books—the Trident is also a used-book store—occasionally concealing a real find among outdated guides to computer systems that have long since been put out to pasture.
Before Covid, Cedar and I would get up early Sunday morning and go for our large half-caf mochas with whip and a delicious baked good about 90 minutes before the 9:15 service at St. John’s. I referred to this earlier religious experience as our “Tridentine Mass.” Generally, we would get a booth in the back. Our regular barista, Crystal, knew ahead of time what we wanted and would often start preparing it when she saw us enter. The regulars would already be there: Steve, little Jack, the serious young woman ensconced behind her latest book, the tall parents with the tall daughter in the first booth, Alex from the Bronx talking Yankees with his buddy, Gus who would greet me in Greek, the older gentleman with his half-done Sunday New York Times crossword puzzle sitting outside in the better weather. Cedar and I would inevitably descend into some version of Deep Thoughts. Then we’d be off to church.
Once Covid hit, of course, no more Trident for us. Now, 15 months later, it was time to return. It’s hard to describe how happy we both felt. A beautiful late-spring day. Boulder’s front range, the Flat Irons, looking more beautiful than ever. No more masks. And the Trident! I was about to ask Sophia, the barista on duty, if Crystal was still around when she shows up with a big smile and even bigger hugs for us both. She was a co-owner now. Just before the pandemic hit, the aging owner of the place had sold the Trident to its mainly young staff. She looked great. And we felt great. As Covid was finally winding down, little things were meaning a lot. And this was just such a big little thing. Thank you, God. Amen.
Crystal, now a co-owner of the Trident