Thursday, December 1, 2011

Richard's Coffee Shop - Mooresville

When I first came to live in North Carolina, about 13 years ago, I got a job working in the town of Mooresville as an Estimator for a local construction company, which was my stock in trade at the time. The office in which I worked was located around the corner from Pat's Gourmet Coffee Shop, where I would sometimes stop in and get something to drink. I noticed that there were always groups of Veterans hanging around the place. Kind of like the malt shop in "Happy Days", only with an older crowd. There was a guest book to sign identifying all of the Veterans in the area who had passed through the shop. I gladly added my name to the list. The place was a mixture between a coffee house and a museum. The history of Pat's Coffee Shop is all on this card to the left. When Richard passed away a few years ago, I naturally thought that this was the end of a very unique place. Quietly, I mourned its passing.

But that was before this year’s 67th Annual Town of Mooresville Thanksgiving Day Parade. I was perambulating down Main Street, kind of walking the parade route, when I spotted a shop I had not seen before. It was like a cross between an antique store and a coffee shop. I was intrigued enough to walk in, and very pleased at what I saw. The whole place is filled to bursting with old uniforms, medals, and the walls are covered with photographs from every conflict since World War One through the current conflicts in the Middle East. All age groups are represented here, and there is a sense of brotherhood in the air as you walk about. It's like coming home.

Apparently, after Richard moved on to his next assignment, his friends and acquaintances from the coffee shop, decided to do what most Veterans do best; carry on. So, they opened a new place, across the street, about 1 block down, naming it "Welcome Home Veterans". It's not a coffee shop anymore, but instead it has been lovingly transformed into a place for the area's Veterans to come and talk, read, and drink coffee. There is always a fresh pot on. Mornings are the busiest, it seems that most of the guys still hear Reveille and respond accordingly. And, as stated on the hand out, the shop also serves as a place for local music on Saturdays, featuring Veterans, and non- Veterans alike, picking and grinnin'. It didn't take too much courage on my part to join the Navy so many years ago. I wasn't doing much else worthwhile. And joining the service opened up the entire world to me. I spent the better part of 10 years roaming around, seeing all the things I had only read of previously. As far as I'm concerned, they did me a favor letting me in. Now, if I can just muster up the courage to haul one of my guitars down there next Saturday.....

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