Tag Archives: pilgrimage

Local Paragons VIII: Krankies Coffee

Krankies Coffee is located at 211 East Third Street in Downtown Winston Salem, North Carolina (though there is a secondary location on Reynolda Road). Stocking, selling and re-selling specialty, high quality coffees, Krankies keeps Winston Salem honest about local brews and “support[s] farmers that forgo industrial agricultural and processing practices for lower impact methods that support soil health.”

Local Color: <3 <3 <3 <3 <3                    Food/drink: <3 <3 <3

  The door was propped open, allowing the crisp spring air to accompany Lucy into the dark coffee house where she had decided to take her mid-morning planning session. It was further down Fourth Street than Camino, but she doubted that Saul would be at Krankies this time of day and what she wanted right now was to be alone.

“What can I get for you?” the slightly bohemian barista slunk behind the counter and looked at Lucy through half closed eyelids.

“Americano,” she said. Today she would keep it simple.

“Right on,” he said slurring the two syllables into one mumbled monosyllabic response. Lucy paid with a five, then stuffed her change in her pocket and headed toward the back. Though the coffeehouse had been under construction for months, the room was taking on a nice shape, and perfect for getting work done—which is what Lucy needed to do.

She had been working for over an hour when the woman approached her asking simply, “May I borrow this chair, sweetheart?”

Lucy looked around and noticed the room had filled, but the woman clearly just wanted a place to read. Lucy nodded, then went back to her work as the woman took a seat, her long, flowing skirt settling around her ankles as she settled in to read. Purple fabric stood out against the wooden chairs, the peacock feather motif made Lucy feel as though a dozen eyes were probing at her as she worked. She tried not to look at the striking woman, but her gaze kept wandering to the other end of the small table. Her wrists were covered in silver bangles, resting solidly against her soft, wrinkled skin. The peasant blouse she wore tied in the front, and flowed as easily as her skirt, but this was nothing compared to her hair. Not just grey, but a brilliant silver, it fell in a silky cascade from the top of her skull all the way down her back so that she was almost but not quite sitting on it.

“You look like you need to talk,” the woman’s voice interrupted Lucy’s thoughts again.

“I beg your pardon?” Lucy looked at her, blushing and hoping the other woman hadn’t noticed her staring.

“You’ve been looking at the same page in your notebook even before I sat down. Something else must be on your mind.” Her book was still open, but she studied Lucy with eyes that nearly took up her entire face.

“I suppose,” Lucy began, thinking as she spoke. “I suppose I do have a lot on my mind, but I’m not really sure I’m ready to talk about it. Honestly, I came here so I wouldn’t have to talk about it.” She’d been avoiding Chris, and though she’d gone out with Saul once this week she was exhausted.

“Fair enough,” the woman nodded as she spoke. “But the offer is open if you change your mind.” And she went back to her book.

Lucy tried to concentrate on her own work.

“You know the last time I traveled overseas I took this same book with me. Didn’t get very far that time either.” The woman shut the book firmly. “I’m Rebekah.”

“Lucy,” she turned in her chair, resigning herself to the conversation and almost relieved. “Did you say you were traveling overseas?”

“Yes,” Rebekah nodded, the long slivery earrings jangling as she nodded her head. “I just got back from my last pilgrimage to Jerusalem.”

“Jerusalem?” Lucy’s brow lifted, impressed. “That sounds pretty much amazing.”

“Have you been?”

“To Jerusalem?” Lucy asked. Rebekah nodded, and Lucy shook her head. “Not me. I’ve never been anywhere.”

“You’re young,” Rebekah said, patting her hand. “You have plenty of time to see things like the Western Wall where my people gather each day to pray, swarming together as if of one mind, asking Yahweh to heal our troubled world.”

“That’s lovely,” Lucy said. “And haunting. It makes my life seem so insignificant—petty even.”

“No one’s life is petty, Lucy, but how you live it. Now that’s where you start feeling alive. And faith, real faith, has a lot to do with that.” Rebekah smiled, taking a sip of her coffee, then looking down into it she pursed her lips. “It’s kind of like this coffee. Everyone thinks Starbucks is the real deal when it comes to coffee, but it’s really too commercialized to be authentic anymore. It holds a shadow of what it once was. Don’t get me wrong, Lucy. Starbucks still tastes good, but it is too sugary and marked up to be real. Faith, true faith, is like coffee from a local place—authentic and earthy; you order a shot of espresso here and you feel something. It’s pressed straight and not watered down or sugared up. That’s what real faith is like. An authentic espresso is so strong it keeps you awake at night, makes your heart palpitate, and widens your eyes. Faith should do the same.”Lucy looked down at her espresso; the foam was circling the top of the cup.

“I can’t have that kind of faith,” Lucy said quietly. “My—friend—Saul, you know, we’ve had similar conversations. But I just, well I just can’t.”

Rebekah pushed up the sleeves of her peasant blouse and crossed her arms over her chest. She rested her hands on the table to study Lucy.

“God doesn’t, well, he doesn’t care about us—well at least not about me.”

“Where did you get a notion like that from, darlin’?” Rebekah looked genuinely concerned. Lucy swirled the espresso in her drink.

Lucy thought it was strange that Rebekah didn’t ask about Saul. She didn’t really want Rebekah to ask about Saul. She didn’t really want to talk at all.

“That’s alright,” Rebekah said. “You don’t have to say anything. But I want you to know how wrong you are—people don’t want to hear that, but God does love you, honey. Just remember that whatever happened to make you think otherwise is, well, is just a lie.”

Blinking, Lucy opened and closed her mouth, unable to respond.

“There I go again, my bluntness can be somewhat—“

“No, no,” Lucy shook her head. “I’m not of-offended. I just, I don’t really know what to say, Rebekah. I don’t, well you see, I don’t even know you.”

“Understandable,” she looked at her watch. Lucy noticed it was vintage Betty Boop. “How about we meet again? Let’s say—West End Café? In a week? Here’s my card.” She slid it across the table.

Lucy picked it up, studied it and then looked at Rebekah again. Nothing but sincerity shone back from her beautifully aged eyes.

“Okay,” she said, nodding her head. “Does 11:30 work for you?”