After over four decades as a Berkeley institution, Au Coquelet Café on University Avenue closed its doors a couple of months ago, another casualty of the pandemic. For the past several years, my husband and I would visit Berkeley every other month or so for an evening of Irish music, sometimes at the Freight & Salvage but more often at the Starry Plough pub. Au Coquelet, always open late, and frequently filled with Cal students hunched over laptops, was our last stop for coffee before the long drive home. We hadn’t been to Berkeley since February and were unaware of the closure until one of our sons mentioned it recently.
My heart goes out to business owners who have been struggling to stay afloat, and to workers who have lost their jobs and are trying to keep a roof over their heads, feed their families and stay well.
We’ve all had to reinvent ourselves during this pandemic – the way we shop, the way we teach school, the way we visit our doctor, the way we socialize and the way we try to walk that oh-so-fine line between family togetherness and safety.
Here in Sonoma County, California, we find ourselves under a renewed stay-at-home order, imposed two weeks before Christmas.
If you’re able, and haven’t already done so, this would be an especially good year to give a much-needed gift to the community – a “toy for a tot,” a donation to cover meals at a homeless services center, a pair of socks to the sock drive at your local coffee shop or, maybe best of all, that winter jacket you no longer wear – the one that kept you cozy and warm on those cold, clear nights.
All of us can give a gift of kindness. Even with masks on, our eyes can smile. I stopped by Target last week to purchase a gift card. The woman six feet ahead of me in line pulled her cart aside and said, “Please, you go first.” I thanked her and said I was in no hurry, but she politely insisted.
Wishing you peace during this holiday season.