Hot Coffee is down from Taylorsville, out from Mount Olive, up from Ellisville and over from Laurel. But the best way to get there is through Collins. Which puts Hot Coffee somewhere in the middle. And it’s not the middle of nowhere with all the traffic that swims through the heat rising from the afternoon asphalt of highway 532 through the middle of “Downtown Hot Coffee.” It must be a shortcut to somewhere- because none of these folks are stopping here. Not like they used to anyway, when Judy and Herbert Harper ran the old original Hot Coffee store. Maybe that’s the one from the legend? Where Mr. Davis kept a pot of New Orleans blend coffee on all the time and advertised to travelers that he had fresh hot coffee.
Well, in many ways Hot Coffee isn’t so hot anymore. But that’s only if you’re looking for the old ways and old places. Herbert and Judy closed their store and retired to the house many years ago. Time has had its way with the building. There’s still some memorabilia just inside the windows. But the reality is more reflect in them- the cars that pass through and don’t stop.
But a lot of life still goes on. The grass grows and needs mowing. The rain gauge will still measure rain. It just needs a rain in order to do so. The fig tree is pretty much set to automatic, too. It could use a rain also.
But on the other hand, McDonalds Store at Hot Coffee, down at the intersection of 532 and 37 is still thriving- only in different ways than it used to.
Lynda Sanford has run McDonalds Store for years. She says, “Young people don’t cook the way that the grandparents and the parents cooked. They like chips and they like Icees and they like hamburgers and pizzas.”
And there’s always a clash of cultures and a meshing of priorities when new works its way in with the old. For instance, what’s up with young folks and their cell phones?
Lynda gets perplexed sometimes. “You don’t know if they are talking to you or if they’re talking to someone (else.) Several times I have spoken to them or answered a question and realized, you know they were talking to someone else.
But there must be some good things about today that we didn’t used to have. Lynda thinks for a moment and then sheepishly admits, “Well, I guess cell phones.”
Culture clash and where old meets new. It even happens in old/new places like Hot Coffee, Mississippi.
By the way, Lots of tourists passing through make their way to Hot Coffee to get a cup of coffee. But warning, they only make it fresh in the morning at McDonalds Store. So I’d settle for a soft drink later in the day.