The General

Those of you who know me well probably know Sterling.  You know him or you know about him or you’ve met him or heard about him.  And so it’s with a heavy heart that I must tell you that he died yesterday.  

His full name was General Sterling Price.  He was named after John Wayne’s cat in the movie “True Grit.”  I adopted him when he was 2 months old.  That was 17 years and 2 weeks ago today.  I decided I wanted a cat and I walked into Companion Animal Hospital on Harvard and he was there in a cage.  He was so tiny that he sat on my shoulder and walked back and forth across my neck from shoulder to shoulder.  I remember that I told the person who worked there that I would look around and let them know if I decided to take him.  So I drove to a big box animal store and looked at all the various cats and I couldn’t stop thinking about that little black-and-white at Companion.  And I started to panic thinking that someone else might adopt him before I got back there and I ran out and jumped in my car and drove back as fast as I could and ran inside.  And then I acted nonchalant and said I didn’t feel like looking any more so I would just take this little guy.  And from that moment forward we were best friends.  I watched him grow from a tiny kitten with too much energy into a peaceful adult who loved just sitting with me and holding my hand.  

I could go on and on, like any pet owner I guess, but suffice it to say that Sterling was a very unique creature.  I would often look at him in amazement that he was animated.  How could an animal like him be real?  He seemed like a human, contentedly trapped in the body of a cat.  His face always told me what he was thinking - his expressions were obvious.  His eyes were full of life every time he opened them.  He loved life and looked forward to our rituals each day.  And he was with me through the years that I was learning to be a man.  I was only 26 years old when Sterling and I met.  He has been a huge force in the changes I have made in myself the past 17 years, and in the creation and evolution of the DoubleShot.  You may think that I’m exaggerating, but I am not.  He was the behind-the-scenes entity that kept me going every day, gave me a listening ear no matter what I had to say, and showed me a peaceful and forgiving way to approach any situation in life.  The love and companionship he gave me was perhaps one of the most important things in my life that has allowed me to keep going day after day.  It was as if we were one.  And now that he is gone, I feel like I lost a section of my heart.  An entire portion of my life and personality was buried yesterday in an oak casket under shovelful after shovelful of Oklahoma dirt.

That isn’t to say that life won’t continue.  Of course it will.  But it will be different.  I will have to learn to adapt in different ways to the daily routine and find an outlet for my stress and emotions.  And the DoubleShot?  It will be fine.  It won’t be the same.  My desire to make coffee was born with Sterling at my side.  He loved the smell of it and licked the residue from the bottom of an empty americano cup.  

I know this doesn’t mean a lot to many of you, but if you enjoy DoubleShot Coffee, you should know that the source of my inspiration for creating it and for persevering and improving it was General Sterling Price.  His death is a major setback to me and to the DoubleShot.  I will likely reevaluate my priorities in the coming months, and make some important decisions about the direction of this business.  That’s how important he was.  

Please enjoy the coffee and all that Sterling and I have created here at the DoubleShot, with the help of so many people through the years.  Enjoy it today and tomorrow and the next day.  Because life is uncertain.  Thank you for helping our dreams become a reality.  I hope the future holds unexpected pleasures and more delicious treats.