Life lesson in a cafe.
Rushing between appointments on a busy Friday I step across the threshold of one of my favourite cafes, Natural Temptation, to find some delicious, nutritious lunch. My hunger pangs and thoughts of getting quickly to my next appointment are instantly arrested. Something is happening here. The tables and chairs, usually inviting wooden furniture are piled high to one side, the Bain-marie, where steamy aromas of vegetable curries and delectable savoury crepe stacks usually makes choosing lunch a dilemma is cold and empty.
Dismay is clearly written all over my face, and another browsing customer says, ‘didn’t you know, Annie is closing down”.
This unexpected turn of events leads to action. Not the anticipated action of enjoying lunch. Rather, buying some bulk spices (a generous size paper bag of star anise for only $3!), and ultimately a couple of well used sturdy bentwood chairs – I now have a beautiful reminder of this iconic café in my own dining room.
Next, I ask to speak to Annie. Tears well up in my eyes as I thank her for 30 years of amazing food and share how my children would always be eager for a visit to Natural Temptation in the school holidays. It was a highlight. They had their favourite meals, for one an “earth burger”, for another “tuna croquettes”. I loved the frittata and vibrant green raw broccoli salad.
What struck me the most though was how it had taken the closing of her business for me to tell Annie how much we loved her space, her food, her hospitality. I pondered the thought that so often we don’t tell someone how much we appreciate them until they are going or gone. The remedy is obvious to me. Take every opportunity to tell, both those we love and are close to AND those who make our everyday lives extraordinary that they matter!
Dear readers, that includes you. I am a writer, and knowing that you take the time to read what I write means fulfilment to me. Thank you.
In summary, a hastily written ode inspired tribute to Annie
Annie, the temptress.
Reign’s supreme in her café,
Concoctions of lovingly made delight
Both savoury and sweet,
Tempt all our senses.
Annie, sparkly eyed,
Clad in her red apron,
Casts her spell over her hungry customers,
Her food fills us with goodness,
Vibrant with nature’s rainbow of colours.
Annie, ever gracious,
Living and working with integrity,
Earned our unwavering loyalty,
And now, she moves to a new phase of life,
We wish her joy and contentment,
Thank you Annie for momentous meals and memories.
Today I encourage you to look for someone who makes a difference in your everyday life, acknowledge them now, both of you will feel uplifted.
May your day be filled with vitality,
Thank you once again for your thoughtful and thought provoking writing. Gratitude and appreciation are top of mind for me right now. I think of myself as showing people that they matter but never as much as right now, wondering how I’d manage without family and friends. Having broken my dominant wrist a week ago and then having surgery to repair, my independence and daily work and joy are severely affected. I must remember that I need to be grateful and verbal about how much everyone means to me each and everyday, regardless of circumstances.
That’s tough Jane, I hope you make a swift recovery. It’s often harder to show the compassion we give to others to ourselves. I know you’ve kindly and generously helped many others who’ve needed your help. Now is your opportunity to help them feel good by returning the love. E x
Beautifully written Esyltt! Im lucky to have such a great mentor x
Thanks Elisha! Your encouragement means more to me than words can tell. E x
Dearest Esyltt, Thank you for this beautiful blog post. I hope Annie gets to read it too! We have a new cafe in our community. It’s one of the best cafes I have ever been to in Sydney. Family owned from Melbourne since 1970. Making their first foray in Sydney. The fit out sublime. It’s like stepping into Italy. You are quickly transported by the decor, the scents, the music, and the simple charm & pleasure of Italian pannis and small Italian sweet & savoury morsels. The host and staff draw you in with their unflappable sweet quietness & kindness. Everyday (yes I am in there daily), since our conversation, I have shared with them how much I love their place and their presence in our community. Thank you again for sharing your experience. Grateful for you! Anthia xx
Oh wow Anthia! Your description has me longing to visit this new cafe to sample the ambience and food. Thank you for encouraging me in my creative endeavours. It is much appreciated. E x
Dear Esyltt- What a lovely piece- it’s so true how we let moments of expressed gratitude go by and then it’s too late. Annie is part of that very special breed of humans who feeds the body and the soul of their tribe. I can see how she will be missed. I try my best to live mindfully and intentionally, so this is a fantastic reminder- THANK YOU! xx
Thank you Sylvie for your kind response. I appreciate your encouragement very much. E x
Gee,Thank you Esyltt for conveying the sentiment so beautifully.I didn’t appreciate just how entwined my Natural Temptation story was on people’s lives.I feel honoured and proud that my beliefs and ethics did indeed make a difference and left a legacy of memories and learning.
“The harder you work the luckier you get” and Natural Temptation was always lucky to have wonderful customers who enjoyed our work.
The Temptation Story will continue in a different form of sharing and giving shortly.
So glad you enjoyed reading this Annie. May you continue to thrive. Esyltt