On Saturday, October 29, I paid 27 cents for a cup of coffee. 

Now for the backstory…

About two and half months ago, I mentioned in a blog post that I have started taking graduate classes again.  It has been 11 years since I finished an M.A., and I have really missed the challenge, structure, and discipline of being in the classroom.  So I am just getting my feet wet in an M.Div. program at Oklahoma Christian University.  It has been every bit as challenging and enriching as I had hoped it would be.

Two weeks ago, I had to be on campus for a class that only meets periodically throughout the semester.  I had been there for the marathon session on Friday (1:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.) and had planned on spending the night in Edmond since class would resume at 8:00 on Saturday morning.  However, my first bad experience with booking a hotel room through Hotwire (another story) caused me to change my plans and drive back to Tulsa for the night.  When Hannah found out that I was leaving town, she threw in with me for a quick road trip home.  It was great to catch up on some Daddy-daughter time during the drive.  We got home in time to watch the last three innings of Game 7 of the World Series.

I was up again at 5:00 on Saturday morning, and Hannah and I were sitting in the drive-thru at Chik-fil-A at 6:00 waiting for them to open.  Having secured our “road food” breakfast, we drove back down the turnpike to OKC.  I dropped Hannah off at her apartment at 7:40 and determined that I had just enough time to grab a cup of coffee before class.

Having opted out of the drive-thru in order to avail myself of their facilities, I walked up to the counter at McDonald’s and said, “I need a small cup of coffee to go, please.”  The young lady hit a key or two on her register and said, “That will be 27 cents.”  “Really?” I said in amazement.  “That’s awesome!”  I told her that I had always thought a cup of coffee shouldn’t cost more than 35 cents; a quarter and a dime ought to get you a cup of coffee anywhere in America. 

However, my euphoria was quickly shattered by the server’s response.  “Well, 27 cents is the regular price for our senior coffee,” she explained.

“Senior” coffee?  Seriously?  I was momentarily stunned!  I never saw it coming; it totally caught me off guard.  As one who has spent most of my adult life being told that I looked younger than my actual age, I had suddenly time-warped a couple of decades into the future.  Was it the lighting?  Was it the time of the morning?  Was it the fact the young lady was likely 16 or 17 years old and everyone over 30 looked like they qualified for senior coffee?  Did she know that the next day was my 49th birthday? 

In reality, most of the hair on my chinny chin chin is gray.  What started as “accents of gray” around my temples just a few years ago has begun spreading like a virus across the rest of my head.  I can accept that I don’t look as young as I used to, I just thought there would be a longer transition period between being called “our little preacher” and the offer of discounts for the elderly.  I heard Howard Norton say recently that there is an amazingly brief span of time between people saying, “You’re going to be fine preacher one of these days,” and, “You can still preach!”  You nailed that one, brother!

So, I smiled, swiped my card for the massive 27 cent purchase (25 cents for the coffee and 2 for tax), thanked the young lady, took my cup of joe, and left.  The coffee tasted exceptionally good.  I decided to keep the receipt.  I felt that it was worthy of framing.  I might as well try to do this gracefully.