It may come as a surprise (or not), but I was in our local coffee shop, Mother Road Coffee, yesterday afternoon. In case you don’t know, I hang out there quite a bit. It’s an awesome place to go no matter what I’m doing. I can go when I feel like talking to people. There is always somebody to chat with. People come from all over the world. Yesterday, for example, I chatted with a couple of families who had come in from Galveston. I can also go and not talk to anybody, if that’s what I’m in the mood for. I can just sit down and put my earbuds in and nobody bothers me. I get a lot of work done there. My son and I even used to do school, sitting in the back. We could grab lunch or a brownie (they remember that I love the corner pieces!) and keep on working.
Why the name, “Mother Road?” Well, you see, one of the first concrete-paved roads in the Missouri highway was just west of Carthage. It became part of Route 66 in 1926. Mother Road Coffee is located just two blocks off of Route 66. It’s right there, on the west side of the square, right across the street from the courthouse. It’s also catty-corner from the block where Myra Maybelle Shirley’s daddy owned a hotel. Myra Maybelle Shirley, in case you don’t know, became better known as Belle Starr.
The folks at Mother Road make the.best.cappucino.ever. Yeah. I know…I am a coffee purist and really don’t drink cappucino often, but wow. It is really a treat here. They make a mean cortado too, but I don’t get those much (wonder why?).
Besides the fact that it’s just a comfortable place with great cappucino, the owners, Ed and Kara Hardesty work hard to always make the experience better for the customer. I often have to do a double-take when I go in, because something’s been moved or changed. Ed seems to be more than capable of turning Kara’s visions into reality, and her visions are darned good. They make a good team.
When they opened the shop I was wary. This is a small town, after all, and it’s tough to break in if you aren’t from here. Don’t get me wrong, I like our town a lot but if you’ve ever lived in a small town that you weren’t from, you know what I mean. Kara was raised in the Midwest, but Ed is from Tacoma, and they had been living in Seattle (*gasp*). But you know? Ed and Kara are just plain nice people AND they definitely know their way around a cup of coffee. Three years later they are still here. ‘Nuff said. Carthage likes them a lot and I am darned happy about it. I’ve told them several times that Carthage needed them and didn’t even know it.
One of the things I really enjoy about Mother Road is the window displays. You see, it’s set in an old storefront, complete with those windows that flank the entrance, the kind you can walk up into. That in itself is cool enough (it tickles the little girl me who used to wonder how things got in those windows), but these are decorated to suit each season. And they are so.stinking.cute. Terri, the woman who dresses them uses the most amazing things to create all these little vignettes…and by amazing, I mean ordinary. Look carefully at the photo below. Can you see the wooden spoons in the cream can? Balls and ornaments in the birdcage? Pinecones on candleholders? Every time she changes the windows, I have to stop and look and look and look, just to take it all in.
I love her eye for whimsy and her ability to see things I would never dream of. I talked to her once while she was changing a display and told her how enchanted I was with her work. She seemed genuinely surprised. Humility like that makes me love these windows even more. (I’ve thought of lending her a quilt for those displays, but the fact that the building faces east makes that pretty much a no-go. Pity, huh?)
Can you see why I love this place? I do my best to drink a lot of coffee there, er…support them, because I want to see them stay in town for a long, long time.
What about you? Do you have a favorite coffee shop?