(Photo By Evert D, on Yelp)
“Few breakfasts sear themselves on the soul but the one served up this past Saturday at Marathon Coffee certainly did. We got there around 7:30 as the sky was just about to explode into sunrise and took a spot on the porch at a massive wooden table. There was a one-eyed old timer plucking gently at his banjo and warbling old Western tunes and he heightened the sparse, warm ambiance.” (Lisa Q, a customer.)
Our experience was just as heartwarming. On a chilly Thursday morning in November, a group of intrepid hiker friends and I, poured out of The Gage hotel in Marathon, Texas, on our way to have a hot and hearty breakfast at Marathon Coffee.
Greeted by a cottage setting, we spotted one of the co-owners, Nancy, enjoying sausage, biscuit and gravy at a long, pine kitchen table. Drawn in towards the heaters and the mouth-watering smells, we noticed Francine on the other side of the table, in an open kitchen, stirring and happily pottering around her stove.
“Hello dears,” chirped Francine, “have you come in for breakfast? Sit down wherever you want, including here at the family table.” Like a mother, she circled us taking our orders, pouring coffee, patting us on our shoulders. Nancy shared that she had chosen a different breakfast for that first freezing day of 2014. “ I wanted something that would stay with me. I am going over to help a friend get firewood in for this cold snap,” she explained to us.
There was talk of the upcoming Friday fish fry, a rare evening meal that Nancy and Francine would cook. “Last time we did this,” confided Nancy, ”we had over seventy people come and ran out of catfish.”
As locals poured in to their favorite place to catch up and eat, we were all family. Listening to what people were off to do in the middle of west Texas, sitting shoulder to shoulder, we all felt at ease.
The world shrunk as an old Austin friend of one of the group walked in to the coffee house. It turns out she had moved from Austin to Marathon after retirement two years ago, and felt right at home.
Francine and Nancy, perhaps in their seventies, brimming with vitality and joy, have chosen, as a way of life, to cook breakfast for the community, and then to spend the rest of their day helping friends, making quilts, and living deeply.
May you receive breakfast for your soul. May you find moments of peace and joy, no matter your circumstance.
Sheila Armitage helps individuals and organizations adopt everyday resilience practices that boost work, home, and health.