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The Journey to Trinidad

It all began sitting around a flashlight in sagebrush country on the border of Oregon and California. We were looking for rare plants and walking several miles a day in a landscape of stark beauty. Jackie was born a conversationalist and thus there was always some interesting topic to explore. One night she spoke of a dream of owning the small coffee business in Trinidad. I knew the shop in fact I'd met the owner years ago and found her to be intriguing. She was a tough character with a star and crescent moon tattooed at the nape of her neck. She also had the largest collection of agates I'd ever seen. Massive jars of various shapes filled her eclectic living space. Jackie said the woman wanted to sell but the price jumped like a yo-yo depending on who was asking. That night I couldn't sleep. I couldn't stop thinking about the shop. The next morning I awoke with the conviction that I wanted to be a partner and Jackie accepted.

The biggest concern was in the wooing of the eccentric owner. How could we convince her to pass the shop on to us? I learned there were rattlesnake agates in the area being surveyed. What if we found one and presented it to her along with our proposal to buy her business? Perhaps she would perceive it to be a good sign. Jackie thought I was nuts. "OK", she chuckled with a hint of sarcastic doubt. For two weeks we walked, zigzagging across basalt rock in the baking sun searching for rare plants and the elusive rattlesnake agate. Every few days I'd come across a stone and think maybe ... but there is the rule with agates if you have to ask it's not. The two weeks were up and no agate. I felt defeated as Jackie and I packed her VW. We had to stop at the closest mechanic to get the van worked on before we could begin our journey home. We asked if there was a coffee shop and were directed to a drive thru. We walked up to the window and found a woman with a cheery face eager to serve. As she made our drinks we asked how she liked owning her coffee business. She raved about being her own boss etc. and as she was talking I noticed a plastic tip cup with three stones in the bottom to keep it from flying away. I picked it up looking at Jackie while swirling the stones. Jackie's eyebrows arched with curiosity. I asked the woman if the stones were rattlesnake agates. She said "Honey, I don't know what they are but take them!" We protested in disbelief yet she insisted, claiming that she found them everywhere. This was a serendipitous nudge if there ever was one. On the way home we kept pulling out the stones.

There was no question.

We presented the agates, the story and a proposal to the owner and she accepted. Shortly after we opened, Alice became a partner over a bottle of wine. We became a trinity of ladies, on Trinity St., in Trinidad. The patrons loved us thru all our baking follies, cup crusades and growing pains. We became part of a play that continues to unfold. Set in a spectacular backdrop with a cast of characters rich in diversity and depth. How we came to Trinidad felt like magic to me.

by Melissa Zarp

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