Under a Peach Tree in Sicily
"It all began under a peach tree in Sicily. My love for coffee, my love for words, my love for the stories they encompass. As a child I traveled quite often with my parents. They were wanderers (still are), and I remember trying to fit myself into their suitcases every time they were about to leave our home – until one day, I didn’t have to. I was about eight years old and there it was: a roundtrip ticket for Sicily with my name on it.
We’d wake up around 7AM every morning and be out and about endlessly exploring until the early evening, until we’d retire to our bed and breakfast in the charming Sicilian suburbs. One evening, I noticed my father on a rope hammock, tied up between two beautifully proportioned peach trees. He was laying there quietly, his face obscured by a fedora hat and a large leather-bound book, gently rocking back and forth by the breeze. Next to him was a Victorian-style side table with nothing on it but a cup of freshly brewed coffee.
Naturally, I laid down next to him, and he began to read a Jack London poem. Every other page, he would stop and take a sip of the coffee. I smelled his excitement. I smelled him coming alive after every sip – aromas of fresh pepper, bitter orange. I wanted to be like him. He passed the cup to me and I took my first sip of coffee. It was invigorating. It was memorable. It was the perfect complement to the juicy peach that had just fallen onto my lap.
It was at that moment that I told myself I was going to become more like my dad. I was going to travel the world, enjoy the simple things life has to offer, and read all the literature I could get my hands on. It was at that moment I remember how coffee brought my dad and I closer together, how it framed the most important memory I have of our trip to Sicily, and how it fueled – and continues to fuel – all of my dreams that all began under a peach tree in Sicily.
Nearly forty countries later and I’m hungry for travel and thirsty for, well, you know. I’ve been around the world, to Europe and Asia, around South and Central America, and so many of the memories I have made bring me back to that one familiar smell - Italian espresso, Turkish coffee, café au lait in France. It wakes me up, propels me forward, brings me back to special moments I’ve had before. It bonds me with friends and it bonds different cultures together. It's the one common thing that people all over the world breathe, brew, and believe in – the one thing that never changes."
- M. Babinsky