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Saying Goodbye to Our Barista

Another Goodbye

We said goodbye to our barista today.

Her name is BreAnn.

We’ve known her for six years. Two or three times each week, for six years, she has served Bev and I, and now she is gone.

Big deal, right?

Except yes, it is a big deal, to us.

I like to tell people that Bre makes the perfect mocha. Maybe she doesn’t. Maybe it just seems that way because she is our friend and we like her so damned much.

And today we said goodbye.

Two or three times each week, for six years . . . hell, I haven’t seen my best friends that often over that time span . . . so yes, we will miss her.

The sun setting on another friendship?

The sun setting on another friendship?

She Is a Beauty

Beauty is only skin deep . . . someone said that once, referring to physical beauty, and I understand the meaning behind that worn-out phrase. I’ve seen some actresses on talk shows, stunning women, who had the depth of a thimble. And the first thing you notice about Bre is yes, she is physically beautiful with that long blonde hair and flawless skin, perfect features, like some California surfer chick who took a wrong turn at Malibu and ended up in Olympia . . . but then, after a bit of time passes, you begin to notice some depth to this young woman, surprise, there’s a quality mind inside those golden locks and lo and behold, there is a heart beating in that chest, a heart that cares . . . a heart that cares.

There is depth in her for sure, and she wears that substantial heart on her sleeve. A smile one day which can illuminate the darkest of circumstances, and a barely-restrained, pissed off, in your face angst the next as she strains to hold back whatever it is that’s bothering her, and may the gods keep safe those she does not like, for her sarcastic tongue can slice and dice the most macho of wrongdoers.

So don’t let that beatific smile fool you, for like the sailors of old, spotting a false light on rocky shores, the true lighthouse may be miles away. She can be a tumultuous tempest or the sunniest of summer days, and I love that about her.

She Cares

This is a young lady who left home, worked her ass off, paid for her own college education, and is now heading to the hallowed halls of state government because, get this, she wants to make a difference in this world. Knowing Bre is working in politics makes my jaded heart warm, giving me hope for the future, knowing there is at least one person at the state capitol who gives a good damn about our community and the people who live in it.

And I love that about her!

We’ve had some good talks about politics and the social fabric of this nation. We have not always agreed, but the talks were respectful, and the depth of her convictions is admirable.

And I love that about her!

So many people come and go from our lives

So many people come and go from our lives

Have a Nice Day

How often have you heard that worn-out cliché from retail workers? It is their mantra, tossed out at the end of a transaction with all the passion of a grocery-list reading. I understand it; I truly do. I’ve worked retail, and I know the mundane nature of working a minimum wage job, dealing with rudeness from customers, day in, day out, the sameness of it wears on you, the knowledge that no matter how hard you try you’ll always have the same position and make the same wage . . . so by hour three, or four, of a shift, have a nice day is tossed out, usually without eye contact, just something to say to move the line along and get through the shift.

But Bre cares! If she likes you, that tiresome cliché will not leave her lips. Instead you’ll hear “what’s your day look like,” or “how’s your job coming along?” conversation starters which show she wants to know about you, she really gives a shit, and suddenly the production-line nature of the job slows to a crawl and there she is, listening to your answer, really listening by God, and yes, I love that about her.

So the Years Marched By

And we learned about her family, her love for her little brother, her boyfriend, her hopes, her dreams, her tolerances and her intolerances, and she learned about ours, like people who really care, you know, people who really get it, people who understand that the only thing worth a tinker’s damn in this world is love.

And we followed her on her travels, to Texas, to Italy, and saw the joy in her as she recalled those trips, and we watched her on social media, interacting with her friends, watched as that smile of hers lit up whatever room or space she occupied, and that smile made us smile.

And we loved that about her as she traversed the years and arrived at this moment.

The moment we said goodbye to her.

Her new job

Her new job

And so It Goes

How many people do we meet in a lifetime? I’m guessing the number is in the hundreds-of-thousands, from birth to death, a huge number when you think about it, an impressive number for sure . . . but then how many of those people are just a blink, a stolen moment from the ordinary? I think of my high school graduating class, a class of eighty-two, and fifty-odd years later I am in contact with five of them. Those are people I spent a solid four years with, and there are only five of them still in my life.

College? The number is smaller for me . . . two! Four years and two lasting friendship of regular contact.

The people I have worked with over the years? Over fifty years of employment, and a grand total of six people still walk the landscape of my life.

And the funny thing is we never clue in to the transitory and flimsy nature of these relationships. At the time, we think these people will be in our lives for decades, and when the last time we see them arrives, we don’t even realize it. Here today, gone tomorrow, I remember when, goodbye Yellow Brick Road, and then all we have left to hold are memories.

I find that sad. At the very least sweet melancholy in nature . . .

So, we said goodbye to our barista the other day . . .

And I hope it isn’t truly goodbye.

I don’t want Bre to become a shadow memory. I have so few quality people in my life, and I could really use a dose of Bre from time to time to brighten up those days when the sun isn’t shining quite so bright.

We’ve exchanged phone numbers. She has promised to send pictures from her new job. We have promised to go to the Capitol and watch her work. We have talked about her coming over to our house for visits, maybe having lunch from time to time, all the promises people make when time has run out and life has taken a detour.

And I hope it happens. I hope this isn’t another case of too little, too late, add another faded photograph into the memory album.

It would make me sad if it was.

Bre is worth holding onto.

2018 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

Comments

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on September 13, 2020:

Very true, Rajan! Very true indeed!

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on September 13, 2020:

All this meet and leave is a part of life but surely some people take a little part of ourselves away, such is our connection with them. Saddening for sure but lucky are those who can still connect with them after they have left.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on September 21, 2018:

I agree, Sha! :)

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on September 20, 2018:

That's awesome, Bill!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on September 20, 2018:

We do stay in touch, Sha! She is now planning her upcoming wedding and Bev and I are thrilled for her.

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on September 18, 2018:

Bill, I hope Bre stays in touch with you, too. I was relieved to learn that the goodbye was due to her climb to Capitol Hill and not the Stairway to Heaven.

Since you wrote this in January and I'm just now reading it in September, have you touched base with Bre?

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on August 05, 2018:

Thank you Eman! Very nice to have you visit.

Eman Abdallah Kamel from Egypt on August 04, 2018:

Very beautiful and impressive article. Say goodbye.....Always meeting and farewell are the cases of life. we meet people get used to them and then their departure.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 06, 2018:

I will, Lawrence, as I know you will also. Thank you my friend.

bill

Lawrence Hebb from Hamilton, New Zealand on February 05, 2018:

Bill

A very touching tribute. Some friends are worth holding on to. This makes me think of all the buddies I've known over the years, lost contact with, then through the marvel of modern technology, re-connected!

Make the effort bro, make the effort.

Lawrence

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on January 15, 2018:

Thank you very much, Shannon! I don't know where that comes from, to tell the truth. I've always been fascinated by people...and I care.

Shannon Henry from Texas on January 14, 2018:

Autocorrect and typos. Gotta love them even though they drive us crazy. They make for good laughs sometimes.

But I also meant to tell you that I like the way you speak your mind and it often seems to reflect what so many others are thinking, or at least along similar lines. Part of how you seem to connect with people.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on January 14, 2018:

Easy mistake to make,Shannon! I used to instead of too the other day. My 3rd grade teacher is rolling in her grave.

Shannon Henry from Texas on January 13, 2018:

Well, also lucky for me - you aren't a grammar cop!! Believe it or not, I do know the difference between your and you're. LOL.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on January 12, 2018:

Thank you very much, Chitrangada Sharan! You are appreciated.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on January 11, 2018:

Very touching and a wonderful tribute to her! It’s pretty hard to say good bye to people we love and respect.

Beautiful sentiments, thanks for sharing this!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on January 10, 2018:

Thank you Rochelle, and blessings to you always.

Rochelle Ann De Zoysa from Moratuwa, Sri Lanka on January 09, 2018:

What a lovely tribute Sir Billy :) She seems very special :) God bless you! God bless her new adventures! Take care and keep being a blessing :)

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on January 08, 2018:

Aww, thanks Natalie! She was deserving of some special recognition...perhaps we all are, eh?

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on January 08, 2018:

I totally agree with you, Bill! She is a blessing for me. Thank you!

Natalie Frank from Chicago, IL on January 07, 2018:

Such a nice commentary on someone well respected. It seems we are so quick to complain about people but we fail to give credit to those doing a job well and providing more than just service whole doing so. You should be commended Bill, for not just noticing what seems to be a special person but for publicly recognizing her as well.

William Kovacic from Pleasant Gap, PA on January 07, 2018:

What a tribute to a dear friend, Bill. I know she'll do great as she moves on, and what a blessing for you to have her as a part of your life,

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on January 07, 2018:

Aww, thanks, Shannon! Know where that comes from? Years of wishing people would connect with me.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on January 07, 2018:

Indeed, Mike! If you want me, I'll be down by the levy!

Shannon Henry from Texas on January 06, 2018:

You know what I love about you and you're writing both? You have a. Way of connecting with people.

mckbirdbks from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on January 06, 2018:

Bye-bye Miss American pie.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on January 06, 2018:

All very true, Alyssa! Thank you! I love the internet exactly for that reason. It has made it possible to never lose touch with important people.

Thank you!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on January 06, 2018:

Peggy, I like your thoughts. Thank you for sharing them. Memories are nice to have, for sure. The good ones keep us warm at night.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on January 06, 2018:

Very true, Kari! Very true! Thank you sweet lady.

Alyssa from Ohio on January 06, 2018:

This is beautiful. How exciting that such an amazing opportunity came along for Bre to follow her passions and hopefully make a difference. She sounds like an amazing person, and someone who has become family to you and your wife. What a treasure those types of relationships are. While nothing can replace an actual phone call or the magic of physically being in person, the wonderful thing is that in our day and age we are able to keep in touch with everyone via the internet. And now, you and Bev have a very good reason to take a nice vacation next year and visit the eastern U.S. :)

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on January 05, 2018:

She sounds like a charming young lady who will probably go far in life from what you wrote about her. Hopefully you will stay in touch. At least you shared your lives for a time and it would seem that it was good for both of you. You will always have those memories!

Kari Poulsen from Ohio on January 05, 2018:

Bre sounds like a lovely woman. This is a wonderful tribute to her! Hopefully she will come for lunch. It is so hard to lose a good person from our lives.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on January 05, 2018:

Thanks Sis! You are a gem and I mean that completely. Thank you for being in my life.

love,

bill

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on January 05, 2018:

I hope we do, Pop! I hope we do.

Thank you and Happy Weekend to you.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on January 05, 2018:

Thank you Linda! Yes, she cried when she read it, so mission accomplished.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on January 05, 2018:

Thanks for trying, Lori! I'm happy with this shorter version.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on January 05, 2018:

Awww, Michael my friend, thank you so much. Life is better with you in it.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on January 05, 2018:

It was my pleasure, Maria. Thank you for your kind words and your love.

love,

bill

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on January 05, 2018:

A beautiful suggestion, MizB! Thank you for it. That's wonderful that you found so many to join your group...perhaps I'll be as lucky, eh?

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on January 05, 2018:

Thank you Manatita! I'm going to go in that direction for awhile with my writing....away from short stories...I've missed it.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on January 05, 2018:

All true, Dee! She is a remarkable young woman, and I feel better about the future with people like her in it.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on January 05, 2018:

Thank you McKenna! As a former teacher I completely agree with what you said.

breakfastpop on January 05, 2018:

Be sounds like someone I enjoy meeting. I have no doubt that you will keep in touch.

Suzie from Carson City on January 05, 2018:

The time, concern and emotion you have extended to share your special friend Bre with us, says it all, bro. Your words express your heart......those are the words that matter, always.

Every now & then, we are aligned in some way with that one extraordinary human being who so effortlessly takes up residence within us & makes our lives better & brighter, simply by being genuine.

I too wish your friend much happiness & success in her new venture. I have no doubt she will remain in touch with you & Bev, as you will with her. Hugs, Sis

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on January 04, 2018:

This is a beautiful tribute to Bre and to friendship, Bill. I'm glad BreAnn knows that you wrote the article.

Lori Colbo from Pacific Northwest on January 04, 2018:

I wrote a lengthy comment this morning, but I must not have hit post. This was a lovely, sweet tribute.

Michael Milec on January 04, 2018:

Goodbye story has become a "hello" to BreAnn and welcome into a circle of friends. Above mere feelings, I have been served by a spiritual delight provided by the masterly pen of Mr. Bill Holland a story of life impacting human souls thirsty for love and understanding.

Thank you both and may your life be blessed as you in return are blessing to others.

Maria Jordan from Jeffersonville PA on January 04, 2018:

What a fine tribute to a young lady filled with love and promise - beautiful inside and out.

Thanks for this much needed smile, dear Bill.

Love and have a peaceful evening, Maria

Doris James MizBejabbers from Beautiful South on January 04, 2018:

Bill, this is a touching story. Bre cares and you care. I hope your friendship endures. You didn't say what type of position she is going to. There are many positions in government that are uncorrupted by politics, and I hope she is going into one of those. You speak of friendships that have gone by the wayside. Looking back in my years, and I'm older than you, I truly believe that most of those are discarded because they were not meant to be.

As a new retiree, I'm just getting back with some of my classmates who have lunch once a month in our capital city because we've all moved to this area. There were a baker's dozen at our Christmas lunch. We meet thanks to a couple of early retirees who cared enough to organize our lunch group. Maybe you should be the ringleader of one for your area. Once you get the ball rolling, you could turn it over to someone with more time on their hands. Just a suggestion. Much love and happiness to you and Bev in this new year, my friend.

manatita44 from london on January 04, 2018:

Your last two Hubs, or my last two reads, flow so much like life: the struggles, good and bad times, conflicts and problems we face; fond memories, like Bre's. You have done a superb job in putting them to paper. Way to go!!

Dianna Mendez on January 04, 2018:

It is nice to read a story such as this on the passing of time and friendships. We frequent and love the atmosphere created by the baristas, it's just a sweet spot in our day. I know how much you will miss it. For Bre, she will remember how this season created a path to her success and the wonderful people who made it so enjoyable.

McKenna Meyers on January 04, 2018:

Bill, it makes me so happy that you wrote down these words and let Bre know how much she means to you. When I was teaching, the notes of gratitude from parents and students were HUGE and I treasured them all. While the coffee mugs and plates of cookies were also appreciated, nothing compared to a note of thanks, especially when they included specifics. It was wonderful to know when I "went the extra mile," it was noticed. I hope everyone who reads this tribute to Bre will think of someone special in their lives and write him or her a note. That would be amazing!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on January 04, 2018:

I know, Flourish, but Bre wasn't comfortable with sharing her photo, and I respected that. Thanks for reading.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on January 04, 2018:

Totally true, my friend, something I have noticed more of, Larry, as I approach seventy.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on January 04, 2018:

You are very welcome, Jackie! Thank you for reading. Stay warm!

FlourishAnyway from USA on January 04, 2018:

A nice tribute. Wish we had a group photo to go with the sweet words.

Larry Rankin from Oklahoma on January 04, 2018:

People come and go, and this thing called living becomes more haunting the longer you're here.

Do we get numb and thick so we don't feel, or do we hurt?

Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on January 04, 2018:

Missing friends is so painful, but what a wonderful pain, huh? So many great memories they leave us too.

Thanks for sharing this with us.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on January 04, 2018:

For sure, my friend...that's how it feels, a parent to a departing child....blessings to you always.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on January 04, 2018:

Thank you so much, Dora! I wanted this to be a special tribute to a special young woman.

RoadMonkey on January 04, 2018:

I am glad she got to read your tribute. Sometimes we don't realise when people think well of us. This will be something she will always remember, like a benediction from a parent to a departing child long ago.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on January 04, 2018:

Bill, your love and care for BreAnn warms my heart. Thanks for sharing the fully beautiful person that she is. I join you in praying that she fulfills her purpose and remain connected with you and Bev. Beautiful read!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on January 04, 2018:

She cried when she read it, Marlene, so my job is done. :) I totally agree with you...it is worth the effort to maintain those relationships which have meant so much to us over the years. Thank you for that.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on January 04, 2018:

Very true, Mary! Very true for sure. It's too bad it takes some of us so long to understand that. Thank you for your insight.

Marlene Bertrand from USA on January 04, 2018:

I hope BreAnn has a chance to read this beautiful account of the love she has brought into your world. I imagine a lot of people are better because of Bre. She is someone you definitely want to stay in contact with. I am still in contact with a healthy chunk of my high school friends, zero college friends, and a few of my grammar school friends. It's an effort. If it weren't for Facebook I would be in touch with zero people from my past. For sure, it is an effort to keep in touch, but someone like BreAnn makes the effort worthwhile.

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on January 04, 2018:

What a beautiful tribute to a friend. It reminded me of my high school golden reunion last April, 50 years after graduation and there we were, 100 of us reconnecting once more, from all over the world where we have moved. 50 years have made us appreciate what quality is in relationships.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on January 04, 2018:

Thank you so much, Linda! We happen to think Bre is very special. This was my way of telling her that since I'm not real good with spoken words.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on January 04, 2018:

Aww, Missy, that was sweet of you. I know you understand this, but I just think community is important. I think it's vital that we all make an effort to become closer to the people we rub shoulders with on a daily basis.

Peace and love always, my friend

Linda Lum from Washington State, USA on January 04, 2018:

Bill, what a sweet article. Thank for sharing a little bit of Bre with us. Knowing you, and seeing the glimpse of Bre that you have written of, I have no doubt that you will keep in touch. Some people were meant to be in our lives for just a short while. And then, there are Bre's.

Well told my friend.

Missy Smith from Florida on January 04, 2018:

I'm sad that you are losing Bre to political agenda. Although, we need her in this political web of deceit that has been weaved this past year. She sounds like someone we can depend on there to fight for fairness. It's a good thought that your friend who you have talked about so lovingly here will be there for us.

This made me smile, and also envious - I must admit. It must be the most special feeling to know that someone as nice and generous as you, thinks so highly of them. That's - Wow! I bet she is so elated after reading this.

Good luck, BreAnn! I hope the life you have chosen takes you on a wonderful journey. However, if it takes you through gray days, like politics can, then go visit a pleasant memory. Go visit Bill and Bev!! PEACE.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on January 04, 2018:

I sure think so, Eric! It beats the hell out of the darkness, my friend. Thank you for the kind words.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on January 04, 2018:

LOL....let me know when you're in town, Clive!

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on January 04, 2018:

What a cool reminder of two things: The first always is there with you. That wonderful ease in which you tell us the scene, and people therein. And of course your enduring message of love. Life is good when we seek out the good and cherish it.

Clive Williams from Jamaica on January 04, 2018:

She sounds like a hotty...hook me up billy

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on January 04, 2018:

I texted her and told her, Sally. She cried. :)

Thank you dear friend!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on January 04, 2018:

Thank you Heidi! You obviously get it, and I appreciate that about you. Have a fantastic Thursday in the frozen wasteland of Chicago.

Sally Gulbrandsen from Norfolk on January 04, 2018:

Aw, that is so lovely! I hope someone tells her that you wrote this lovely piece for her so that she gets to know how much she is appreciated.

Heidi Thorne from Chicago Area on January 04, 2018:

As a "regular" at a number of coffee haunts in my area, I, too, have come to appreciate the baristas in my life. Writing and editing can be a solitary profession. So their friendly smiles and conversation make my day.

Plus, some of them are pretty young and it's wonderful to see them developing social skills that can turn them into leaders one day. A couple I've encountered have moved on to bigger and better things. It's said to see them go, but great to see them making their mark on the world.

What a lovely tribute to some folks that often go unnoticed! But then I'd expect nothing less from you.

Stay warm!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on January 04, 2018:

Thank you Janine and Happy Thursday to you as well. Stay safe and warm in that storm.

Janine Huldie from New York, New York on January 04, 2018:

Aw, I hope Are does keep in touch with you both as it sounds like she was a bright light in your day. That said, I also wish her the best of luck in her new job now, as well. Happy Thursday to you, Bill and thanks for sharing your barista memories here with us today.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on January 04, 2018:

Thanks Frank! Here's hoping we don't lose any more in 2018.

Frank Atanacio from Shelton on January 04, 2018:

Another faded photograph.. we all have those and yes I do agree it is a big deal.. friends aren't a dime a dozen...