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Michael pouring coffee in Lesley's glass while sitting in the Essence of Coffee shop.


(transcript- these audio vignettes were aired on News Radio KOTA in Rapid City South Dakota)

Hey, did you know your favorite radio station began on Thanksgiving evening November 26, 1936? You’ve got to be thankful for that, right?

Hi, I’m Michael the Aussie coffee guy from Essence of Coffee and this is Monday Morning musings. Thanksgiving has got to be the best idea ever because it reminds us of how important life is and how special the people we share with are. With everything life throws at us, I find it all too easy to take for granted my ‘chickee babe’ (that’s Michael’s wife) and the great people here in the Black Hills with whom this life is shared.  

For Lesley and I this is a very special Thanksgiving, one that so many people have helped us to reach. This thanksgiving story began years ago on a visit to Rapid City. When most coffee folk visit a new place they will go searching for a good cup of coffee… Not this Coffee Guy – I decided to get a coffee roaster and opened Essence of Coffee just to ensure I could get a great coffee. Weird right?

Years later were in Rapid City working at Essence and our visa was about to expire.  So, we sent our application in to the US consulate in Perth for a new work visa and were preparing to go back to Perth for the interview when boom, life the universe and everything in it went crazy…  Covid 19 and its variants made travel impossible.

Overnight we became displaced persons. No valid US visa and Australia refusing to allow anyone in. I don’t know who first suggested we were “Covid Refugees” but it became a standing joke around Essence. I must confess though, being displaced in the Black Hills of South Dakota is far from traumatic. 

And regardless of our official standing, we were accepted, supported, and appreciated by so many people that we decide we should stay, and after much time and a lot of help, we were granted permanent residence. That is our thanksgiving story. We are thankful for a new start in an amazing land with lots of new friends: it doesn’t get much better than that.

You know, your story is not being written, it is being lived by you and shared by your friends and family. Thanksgiving really is a reminder of that it is:

·      a day to gather with those we love

·      a time for reconciliation of differences

·      a time for healing

·      a time to tell our stories to the young so that each generation can bring purpose and richness to their heritage.

Recently someone shared a quote from George Washington that really impacted me: In foreseeing a troubled future for America he wrote, “remember, no matter what happens, we are all brethren.” The isolation we experienced through covid reminds us that no matter what happens we were created as social beings. We need community, we need fellowship we are all in this together and an unshared story is… well not a story.

Regardless of how much stuff we have; no matter how many zoom meetings or social media pages we see, nothing really takes the place of sharing a great cup of coffee and a pastry with a person we care about.

No matter where your story is at, there is always time to contemplate thanksgiving over a nice cup of coffee while watching the sunrise on the Black Hills and I reckon you’ll feel blessed by such a beautiful start to the day.

See you at Essence on 908 Main St and have a great Thanksgiving.


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