Monday, April 22, 2019

Final Writing From Winning Coffee

Last Latte at Winning Coffee
Final Writing From Winning Coffee

Post-Script: We used to buy our coffee beans from Winnings, a biweekly pilgrimage that would also see us enjoying a plate of enchiladas and eggs (slathered with red and green chile sauce) or the bagel sandwich - typically on a Sunday morning, when the regulars would be seated at the big oval table near the serving line, doing the crossword puzzle and discussing the week's events.

The sidewalk in front of the shop is wide and brick-paved, with numerous patio tables and chairs, which were always filled with an eclectic mixture of students, regulars and semi-street people. Though smoking isn't permitted within 20 feet of a building here in ABQ, it was common for people to be smoking on the patio, using Winning-supplied, sand-filled ash trays, with the aroma of hand-rolled tobacco wafting on the breeze. Our very own little Left Bank; the Left Bank of Route 66.

I came here often enough to notice the regulars, and would strike up a conversation with some, even though I lived across town in the suburbs - which they were keen enough to pick up on. One such fellow was a young guy who always dressed in a black suit and white shirt, and would be writing poetry in a ragged notebook. Another regular was Cherokee, a middle-aged lady who's been living on the streets for decades, though she'd have enough money for a cup of coffee and a plate of breakfast. She'd be warming herself in the early morning sun, wrapped in her off-white blanket that you could smell from a block away. I suspect the management of Winnings might have given her a plate of food now and again for free. That's the way they were.

Three times a week Bradley would set up his books on the counter adjacent to the coffee roaster. He did a good trade in classic 20th century literature, aimed for the university crowd. I saw him and his wife today, as I was typing up this piece. She said he'll probably retire his mobile book business and perhaps take up music production. He would always have an assistant to haul the boxes of books to and from his truck, usually a local who needed the work. Bradley was that kind of fellow. I'm going to miss him.

There were lots of regulars, many who had their own table, sitting in the corner perhaps, writing on a laptop, or in a notebook. Chris, the co-owner, told me today that at least three doctorates were earned from UNM by folk who did the majority of their writing here at Winning Coffee.

I started coming here in the late 1990s, and would write in a journal book, using either mechanical pencil or fountain pen, then later in my AlphaSmart Neo, though I rarely took a typewriter, mainly because the place was so busy on weekday mornings, with people reading or studying, that I didn't want to disturb them. I wrote many blog articles and short stories here, including the Loser's Blend series, which I self-published, and was also featured in my story for Cold Hard Type.

With the increased pace of my YouTube video production schedule I haven't been frequenting Winnings very often during the last few years, since it involves a time commitment and drive across town. Now I regret not spending more time here. And I wonder if perhaps I'll soon have an urge to sit down at some worn table, eclectic music in the background, coffee-stained hardwood floors that have seen a lifetime of wear, sipping a wonderfully rich and dark latte that makes Starbucks taste like warmed milk, channeling my inner Muse as I put words to paper, in some newly discovered coffee shop very much like what Winnings was. I hope so, but there are no guarantees in life. But the spirit of Winning Coffee lives on my memories. Perhaps there's one more story for the Loser's Blend mythos still waiting to be penned? We shall see.

Typecast via Canon Typestar 4 onto Staples thermal fax paper.

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Blogger The Daily Platen said...

It always twists the heart to see a good coffee shop close up shop. Sorry to hear about Winning closing. A shame what bad infrastructure and chain coffee shops do to the little guys. Was this the shop you took me to? They had made a killer latte and tofu scramble!

12:35 AM  
Blogger Bill M said...

I always feel sad when a local coffee shop. sandwich shop, or good restaurant goes out of business. Generally it is due to the corporate ones pushing into the area, rising costs of supplies and labor, and finally regulation that is designed to protect corporate interests instead of the individual. Good to see a small business last 20 years though.

5:47 AM  
Blogger Joe V said...

Cameron, yes it was the same one.

7:30 AM  
Blogger Mark said...

It is always a bummer when a cool coffee shop closes. Hopefully a new one will open up soon.

2:38 PM  
Blogger Richard P said...

Sad. Coffeeshops have long been unique places that bring people together to converse, think, and coexist in a public place that isn't totally corrupted by commercialism. That is rare.

9:04 AM  
Blogger DonN said...

I presume there will soon be a new condo on the site?

11:41 AM  
Blogger Joe V said...

Yep, very likely.

3:33 PM  
Blogger Roger said...

Sad; I had no idea. It would be distressing if ABQ ART had anything to do with it. RIP Winning

8:14 PM  
Anonymous Citron le Fou said...

Hi thanks for possting this

3:43 PM  

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