Monday, October 15, 2007

the origins of the Midnight Cafe

I found this on Brews page, http://www.themidnightcafe.org/. It was on his "About" page and it reminded me of a time gone by. And I had forgotten the origin of the name "Midnight Cafe." It was one of the many things Mullins said one night... many of which can't be repeated, all of which had us glued to his every word... Here is the text of Brew's "About" page...

Gather round my friends, and hear a tale of the great Midnight Cafe. A tale so sacred and mysterious it has never been told before. It is a story so profound it may just change your life!

Like so many things, it started when I was in college. Most nights, starting anywhere from about 11 until about 1 in the am and often running well into the wee hours, me and some buddies would congregate into our friend, Mullins’, dorm room. We would sit on the bunk bed, or his variety of old, broken down chairs, or flat on the floor. Candles would burn, music would play, things would be done that can never be repeated.

Mainly we just sat around talking about the things that college boys talk about - religion, philosophy, music, movies, and girls. Mostly girls.

Then there was the food. We were always eating. Every now and then one of us would bring back something good - say leftovers from a fancy restaurant if we happened to have a date, or good home cooking if one of had recently gone home - but mostly we ate really cheap crap. There were the typical vending machine junk like Snickers bars, and Twinkies, but we’d often make a grocery store run and get some cheap Carl Buddig ham with some cheddar cheese and a loaf of sour dough bread.

It wasn’t good food, but we made it a feast anyways. There is something very communal and worshipful about eating with your bare hands as a group on the floor of a college dorm room. We bonded there, us men. It is impossible to describe just what happened on all those nights, but somehow we became all intimately connected.

We had fun. Tons of fun doing all sorts of goofy, childish things. We made movies and watched movies and played all sorts of music at all sorts of volumes. And laughed. We were always laughing. But it was more than that too.

As the night would draw onward, conversations would often turn serious. Sure the talks were still about girls most of the time, but as young, single men, conversations about girls are often quite serious. We were all looking for something more in life, and the desire to share that life with someone was quite heavy on our minds.

We talked about God and religion and spirituality. We talked about life and careers. We talked and talked. And in that talking we shared. In that sharing we connected in ways I’ll never be able to explain with the feeble words such as I know. It was something important. It was something meaningful.

I’m still friends with those guys. Even though we’ve all moved out of the dorms and across the country, and world. We’ve all gotten married and started families. Yet we still talk and blog and visit one another as often as we can. I suspect they will remain my friend for as long as I live. I suspect we’ll see each other in the next life too.

One night, while we were all gathered around on the floor, eating Carl Buddig and sourdough bread the phone rang. Well, really the phone would often ring. Nearly every night. And when it would ring Mullins, in his own goofy, lovable way would answer with some lame joke.

“Mullins house of fun.” he’d say. Or “Mullins dance emporium with plenty of naked ladies, where clowns are always welcome.”

That night as he answered the phone he gazed upon all of us with mouths full and said “Midnight Cafe, can I help you?”

And it stuck. From then on we were the Midnight Cafe. It was so obvious. So right. Of course we were the Midnight Cafe. What else would we be? Not only would we gather around midnight and eat, but there was a certain quality to it. There’s something about a cafe that conjures so many images up. The dim lights. The smoke. The friends gathered around greasy food. And when you are in a cafe at midnight, well there’s something special about that. There’s something magic about staying up late with good friends, bearing your hearts and souls.

Since that time I’ve always kept the name tucked into my pocket. My user names have almost always been some variation on the Midnight Cafe. Whenever asked for a company name - say for a form or some such thing - I inevitably call my made up company Midnight Cafe Productions. As I thought about the name for my blog, no other name would fit.

It had to be the Midnight Cafe.

8 comments:

CL said...

This is great Jamison. This is "church" this is in my opinion the people of God "sharing all they had in common"
Good stuff.

Jamison said...

Hmmm. I agree with you to some degree.. however, if you had heard some of the "sermons" you'd a'thought differently LOL

Ryan F. said...

Very good read indeed. Brings back good old memories, like Lockhart having to drive me to and pick me up from rehab for my knee because I couldn't drive. I still owe you Lockhart.

CL said...

No way Fred. I did and still do love and enjoy the opportunity to do whatever I can for anyone. Brothers, don't owe each other. I always enjoyed just hanging out anyway.

Jamison said...

He loved hanging out so much that during pledge week, Zeta made me and Ryan go drag him out of his dorm room while he was playing nintendo when he was supposed to be at the brick wall with the rest of us, DEMERITS FOR YOU LOCKHART!

mullinz8 said...

There is no doubt that the sermons at the Cafe were a bit off the beaten path.

Well written piece for sure.

It brought back so much for me. I came across the picture of me, Brew, Jamison, Sipp and Stubbs before the Madrigal performance each holding up the sign language “m”. Again for some reason Chuck wasn’t in the pic.

What I wouldn’t give for a night sitting around a wax covered floor, still burning candles, eating Carl Budding meats, slicing sharp cheddar with my Swiss Army knife and hashing out outlandish stories until the wee hours of the morning.

It reminds me of a girl I once knew in west Tennessee…

CL said...

J- I don't remember that, but I do have ADD.

Diana said...

I love that post. That was wonderful. I wish I could go back in time to 1996 and be a fly on the wall... On second thought, maybe not....