Cups of Light cheer the heart

COFFEE WITH WARREN, with Warren Harbeck
Cochrane Eagle, May 7, 2020

Crocuses are Cups of Light for a weary world.
Photo by Warren Harbeck

Here’s the perfect prescription for these days of Covid-19 doom and gloom: a Cup of Light. And obviously, many of our coffee companions must agree, because they’ve been telling me about their positive experiences with this magic potion the past few days – so much so, in fact, that their wisdom around Cups of Light will fill several columns, beginning with this week’s.

You may recall my first lesson in Cups of Light just over five years ago. As I approached the counter at Cochrane Coffee Traders one morning, the server asked me what I’d like. “A cup of light, please,” I said. Immediately Eric Bourchier, the husky fellow at the front of the line next to me, overhearing my order, said in a very gloomy tone of voice, “Oh, I need a cup of light, too.”

With a bewildered expression, I looked directly at my normally positive friend. He explained that life was pretty dark for him that morning. He had just lost his job in the oil patch, another casualty of our province’s economic crunch back then.

Over the next few days he told me more of his sad story, and in lending him my listening heart, he cheered up. Ever after, whenever we see each other, we hold our hands up to our chest, thumbs up, as if holding a coffee, and say: “A Cup of Light, Eric!” and “A Cup of Light, Warren.”

Our readers can well identify with the spirit of Eric’s thirst for Cups of Light in today’s dark days of pandemic, social-distancing, economic hardship and bewilderment. But many Cups of Light are being served, too. Quite a few of our coffee companions have been sharing with me their own Cup of Light experiences recently. In fact, HR consultant Lori Craig speaks of “the gift of the pandemic,” because of the way it has resulted in so many Cups of Light being served.

Just this past Saturday, for instance, even I was the thirsty recipient of Cups of Light. For my 80th birthday I wasn’t expecting much to happen, socially isolated as we all are. But was I ever in for a surprise! By mid-afternoon, friends kept coming to our front lawn with food, flowers, cards, music, balloons and smiles. And to top it off, at one point along came a drive-by cavalcade of a couple dozen horn-tooting, banner-waving, greetings-shouting cars and bikes! Cups of Light? Absolutely!

But let me get on to sharing some of the Cup of Light emails I’ve been receiving from our readers the past few days.

Jack Blair, Cochrane “A special moment for me was when my son, daughter-in-law, and their many children showed up at our house on April 3, unannounced, stood 20ft away, and sang me happy birthday.  I had to fight the urge to run out and give them all a hug.”

Stoney Nakoda Elder Tina Poucette – “Here at Morley, Kiyo Holloway, who makes moss bags and baby bonnets, made a bunch of cloth face masks and left them for Elders at Trading Post at the beginning of this lockdown. They were free. I was grateful, because no one could get masks anywhere. Also, Roxanne Milan, who works at Trading Post, has been doing grocery shopping for an Elder who is a cancer patient. Women with hearts of gold.”

Ginette Losier, Cochrane – “My Vancouver daughter Bec and I have been doing virtual learning. Bec wanted to learn to make pie crust, with which she made her first turkey pot pie, and we made it once again this time to make apple pie; both turned out delicious. We plan on continuing these wondrous sessions after our isolation time, which brought this on.”

But before I end this week’s column, there’s one very important Cup of Light greeting that must not be overlooked. This coming Sunday is Mother’s Day. Let’s all raise our hearts and souls in a toast to those beloved women to whom we owe our very existence: CUPS OF LIGHT TO YOU, MOTHERS!

More Cups of Light next week.


© 2020 Warren Harbeck

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