Coffee Tales, Chapter 8: “Silva”
By Myron J. Clifton
Silva likes Grande White Mocha, extra hot, one pump.
This drink is a reward. A reward for joyful endurance. A reward for the slowness of the passing of time. And a reward for taking the time — slowly passing time — to look inward and see good; to see hope.
There appears to be a certain newness with this delightful and calm drink. White chocolate, after all, is new, right?
Maybe not, since the Swiss company, Nestle, starting making and selling white chocolate in the 1930’s. The drink is pure, sweet, hotter than one expects, and packing just enough kick to remind you of the finer things in life; of a history of learning, teaching, and sharing with too many people and nations to count.
To drink this drink is to invite wonder and questioning of what one knows. Or what one thinks one knows. This drink then is a type of time machine. White chocolate is from the 1930’s? That’s a long time ago, isn’t it?
Perhaps not when one considers the land that birthed a daughter and three sisters.
A daughter of and from Lebanon. A land that has a history that… predates recorded history. A land and people who predates religion. A land that had a culture over seven-thousand years ago.
And of people who are today Lebanese, and who were Canaanites, and before that, Phoenicians.
And even before that, Sea-People, who sailed the Mediterranean and established cities in Carthage and in Spain, among other places in the near and far East.
How do we know of these remarkable people?
Because you can read this Coffee Tale.
It was those intrepid people: Sea People-> Phoenicians-> Canaanites->Lebanese who invented/created… the alphabet.
They wanted to share love and pain, and poetry and hope, because they enjoyed creation so much they wanted to teach their children the wonders of life. So they invented an alphabet for us to enjoy.
These very letters and words are from those ancient people. The ability to convey thought, love, pain, record history, write songs of wine and poetry – like the city of Zahle, Lebanon, which is known for many things, and chief among them, wine and poetry, calm climates, cafe, and tolerant people who love life.
After a few sips – okay, half of the Grande – life feels better. Oh, there are still personal issues; there are wars that spill over to a country of peaceful people; there is work and family stresses; and there are life challenges but as the ancient people taught us when things seem tough or even unbearable…take to the sea and begin your journey to lands near and far.
See the world.
Slow down and enjoy the cool ocean breeze. Eat off the land and sip drinks with loved ones and talk of nothing and of something, and both ignore time and embrace time as it calls you forward to peace.
I drink this drink in honor of my friend, Silva, from a land where, no less than twelve empires resided over the past five-thousand years, and yet the people strive and live and still love life.
The remarkable people who learned that all religions should be represented in their government so that no one religion dominates. A people who strive to improve, to be better, to get up early, to out work, out try, and out survive others for more than seven thousand years.
A people who survive, thrive, and live. Like Silva.
And I drink this drink to celebrate, as a type of conclusive reward, with my friend Silva, the end of Ramadan and the receding of the crescent moon.
With love from your friend, Eid Mubarak and Kul ‘am wantum bikhair, Silva.
This then, is Silva’s drink.
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