The feel of a place is an incredible thing. In any given life, through any number of experiences, feel is a common element. The feel of something is the basis for nostalgia. A Star Wars marathon will always be an entertaining day for me, because of that same nostalgia, the feeling watching those films gives to me. Feel is also what seems to separate those hidden gem places from their neon bedazzled competitors. We all have one, some nook or cranny that we stumbled upon or heard about. We feel rewarded just for finding it and we develop such a love and kinship to it that we miss not being there. Broom Wagon Coffee is one of those places for me. My own little haven about 3 minutes from my front door.
Jeremias Paul owns this gem with his wife Rachel. He's a face I see often, because he helps feed my deep and driving caffeine addiction with incredibly crafted coffee. We've had some passing conversations, but like so many people we see in our lives, we never really took the time to sit down and get to know one another, to connect. This morning seemed like a good time to fix that, and a cup of coffee seemed like just the right companion to that talk.
Walking up to him this morning, Jeremias was preparing for the "Monday morning waffle photo shoot." It's a pretty incredible sight, not just for the amazing looking breakfast item (it tasted amazing as well) but for the shade and preparation. Jeremias is a photographer, it's what he went to school for, and the pride of craftsmanship is clear. While there is a feeling of the collective kinetic energy built in this man, he is calm, steady handed and careful in his work. I know many people saw that picture of a waffle. It probably looked amazing, but you didn't see the really miraculous part, the artist behind the picture.
He walked me through the story of how he got to this place, this present moment, from college to coffee shop, from Pittsburgh, Boston, Savannah, Utah and Charleston. It's a story filled with adventures. My personal favorite being the "Chinatown bus" where you could get to New York City for $20. This was the desired option over moving furniture in the rain. Details like those make it readily apparent why I like Jeremias so much, we are both travelers, adventurers. Charleston is a city for adventurers and travelers to gather, a port of call.
Originally the plan was for Jeremias to teach and pursue photography. He actually pursued it pretty actively, but we often find our joy in the moments when we realize life is not a planned vacation, but rather a journey into the undiscovered. While living in Utah, Jeremias and his family were travelling and exploring Arizona and California, they were also discovering a love for coffee. He spent time learning, prepared to leave Utah, for a number of reasons, and dug in. He learned about roasting coffee, honed his craft. At one point he competed nationally as a coffee roaster, coming in fourth in his region and eighth in the country. I wonder how often people have sat down here, savored the coffee, built a memory around the aroma, the conversation, the cast of characters on parade in and out of the door, without ever realizing just how much mastery crafted that coffee. It would make me sad, save that I have noticed it and I am certain others have too. If not in their head, then in their heart.
Broom Wagon is like something from old Irish legends. You would blow right by it while driving, unless you looked for it. Even seeing it from the outside, it doesn't appear to be anything special, until you are there, past the door. That's the amazing thing about Jeremias, his family and this shop, it's magic hidden in plain sight, a gem just under some trees. I have never had a time where I did not feel at home here, it's my satellite office. Jeremias and Rachel are always smiling, it's a true family business.
Jeremias is like his shop, a gem hidden right in front of you. He's the person you see everyday, but you don't get to know. The one you banter with, talk about the game or some event, the one who is smiling when you come in. So many times we see them, and so rarely do we ask to sit down and have a cup of coffee, to share a story.
In our talk we reflected a lot about the hidden gems, the places and people that you feel rewarded just for finding. These are the places and the people that enrich your life, make it all the more colorful, become the cast of characters you will forever have etched into your memory. Too often we go about our day seeking to be validated by the person across from us, hoping they like us, looking for the obvious treasure and leaving behind the hidden gems like Jeremias, like Broom Wagon, like the entire beautiful scene that is this place, tucked away just waiting to be discovered.
Favorite Dinosaur: Velociraptor
Why: Pure Jurassic Park Love