The week before last, the Midwestern Gentleman and I found ourselves winding along a dark, rural highway, unexpected rain pattering on the windshield, as we searched the roadside of Route 14 for a coffeeshop called Java Junction, located at the heart of the tiny town of Madrid, New Mexico. We were on our way from Albuquerque, where I had been attending a work conference, to Santa Fe for a few days’ relaxation.
You could miss Madrid in the dark if you weren’t paying attention, as it occupies less than a mile-long stretch along Route 14. We woke up the next morning in a cute, efficiency bed and breakfast above the Java Junction Coffee Shop. Sunlight poured in the window, along with the scent of freshly brewing coffee and the sounds of a local radio station.
The breakfast included with our night’s stay proved to be a selection of baked goods from nearby Santa Fe, along with the coffee beverages of our choice. The Midwestern Gentleman ordered a Border Mocha, spiced with cinnamon and cayenne. I ordered a cafe au lait with plain soy milk and no additional sweetener. Scrutinizing the labels on the baked goods, I found only natural ingredients I could easily pronounce — butter, sugar, flour — so I decided to indulge in a pumpkin muffin. I had cut sugar and all baked goods out of my diet for weeks, and I was feeling pretty good. So, I was confident that one little pastry for breakfast couldn’t hurt. It would be a special treat, and I would recommit to my inflammation-free eating goals immediately afterwards. The Gent picked out an orange scone.
We sat outside while we ate, enjoying the sunshine, and then strolled up and down Madrid’s main roadway, peeking into artists’ shops while being serenaded by windchimes.
Within a few hours of my pumpkin muffin, fiery pain ran through all the joints of my upper body, from my wrists up through my shoulders and neck, and down along my spine. Ah, lesson learned. No more sugar and white flour. No pastries. No self-pity, either.
Anticipating a late morning hike in the Sangre De Cristo mountains, we hopped back into our rental car and continued our way north. Next stop: Santa Fe.