Believe it or not, writing a book about seniors hasn’t always been a number one goal of mine. In fact, writing any book at all ever is something that’s never really crossed my mind.
However, I am a student in the Creative Communications program at Red River College, and in order to graduate, we all have to complete an Independent Professional Project (IPP). Some people choose to produce a radio show or podcast, some of us host a fundraising event, some people shoot an episode of a TV show or a documentary – the scope is pretty broad, but at the end of the day, everyone has to complete an original project that was their own idea within a year, outside of school time.
At this time last year I had no idea what to do for my IPP.
I think it’s fair to bring up the fact that I have a complete set of grandparents living here in Winnipeg and they are wonderful. My Baba is especially chatty, and I’m not always the most patient when it comes to story time. I come by it honestly though – everyone around the dinner table at any given family gathering knows almost every story that comes out of her mouth off by heart, word-for-word, in his/her sleep. We’ve heard them a few times.
Needless to say, that was not exactly my inspiration.
On the other hand, I had interviewed two very fascinating seniors earlier last year.
Things got pretty colourful language-wise once we were able to change the battery in 91-year-old George Sired’s hearing aid so he could tell me a bit about WWII for a Remembrance Day journalism assignment I had.
A few months later I had a great time interviewing 95-year-old Dave Cullen for a curling magazine. He took up curling when he was 60, and still curled 3 or 4 times a week – which I found really inspiring. But what I loved even more was his wife, interrupting every few minutes to offer me a ginger ale, or tell me about the bridge club or how they go square dancing on New Years.
For me, spending time with these people was relaxing, entertaining, inspiring and energizing and I really loved it.
Late that night, after I transcribed that interview, sipping a most definitely caffeinated coffee, I tweeted and Gord Leclerc from CTV tweeted me back:
And that tiny little bit of celebrity endorsement is what got me seriously considering doing something with seniors for my IPP.
And the title? Well, I’ve been a server for more than seven years – including two summers working days in the restaurant at a golf course – and it’s been my observation that if seniors are adamant about anything, it’s decaf coffee. Though on a side note, it is absolutely – at this point in my life – still beyond me as to why one would come in from a round of golf in the scorching 35-degree weather and order a hot coffee if not for the caffeine. Maybe one day I’ll know.
But more than that, this book is really about slowing down – decaffeinating our lives, even for a few moments – striking up a face-to-face conversation – perhaps even with a stranger and taking the time to learn something from someone outside of our generation. Which seems simple – but I think it’s something we sometimes need to work up the courage, or be reminded to do.
Hopefully this book will help get the conversation – and the decaf coffee – flowing.
The public is invited to join in celebrating these beautiful people and the launch of this book. On March 5 at 7:00 p.m. in the Atrium at McNally Robinson (1120 Grant Ave.), there will be snacks, stories, tunes by Luke Jacob Thiessen, and, of course, coffee.
You can follow Decaf Coffee Dates on Twitter @DecafDates, and you can order the book by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by visiting McNally Robinson.