Photo by Laurie Stuart

Lexy, server at Narrowsburg's famous cafe The Tusten Cup.

The cream rises to the top

The conversation started with the color of the cream and a cup of coffee to go from Narrowsburg’s Main Street’s Tusten Cup.

“Do you want room for cream or milk?” my server asked me.

“Yes,” I said, with an enthusiastic smile on my face.

I love the cream at the Tusten Cup.  It’s the real thing.  And because of that, the color is slightly off-white.

I ask the server, whom I now know is Lexy, whether people comment about it.

“Oh, yes,” she tells me.

She says she often has to tell people about how the fat of the cream separates and rises to the top. “Some people see that and think that the cream has spoiled, so I have to explain. I try to stir it before I give it to people,” she said.

“You must get different reactions,” I say. “Do people believe you that this is actually what cream looks like?”

“Yes,” she said. “There are lots of reactions.”

For me, the local fresh cream is a treat. To others, it is not.

Lexy and I agree there are lots of layers in thinking about the cream.

“Yes,” she says. “And for me who avoids dairy, there are a whole lot of other layers.”

We laugh.

I wonder out loud whether this cream is a good illustration of the point that I have been trying to make: we each hold a myriad of opinions about everything and that we do well in this time of contention to be curious about the others’ experience.

“You should write about it,” she said.

And so I have.

Sometimes it’s easy and smooth, like cream. Sometimes it’s very separate and needs a bit of stirring together.

Make no mistake. We live in a time of serious divides, ideological differences, moral outrage and real wrestling of the imperative and relentless nature of what faces us.

We are challenged to talk to each other through our differences.

Perhaps we could start with cream.


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