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“Coffee for everyone,” said Donigian after noticing that only one other customer was in the shop. “Put it on my tab.”

Croaker Sculthorpe said, “Make mine a double. It’s one of those mornings.” He and Donigian waited while Mulberry Kaimakamian made the Armenian coffee.

Ms. Anne Thrope asked, “So what’s the deal?”

“Ms. Anne, my new book will be available in about a month. I’m excited by it, and I think people will like the book. Cool cover and mighty fine endorsements!”

“So what’s it about? I’ll give you your coffee for a review.”

Three Prayers You’ll Want to Pray. That’s the title, and I feel certain that you will want to pray them.”

“That’s not a review,” said Mulberry, serving the coffee.

“No, no, no—I’m warming up. Maybe you could give me a piece of cheoreg–and a little string cheese to go with it? The book brings together prayers from three very different characters—a diplomat, a theologian, and a rabbi.”

“Sounds like a bad joke,” said Ms. Anne. “And they walked into a coffee shop, right?”

“I’m still warming up. What’s really different and good about this book is that I connect the three prayers with music—practicing alone in seclusion and also playing music in groups small and large–but it’s not about music. It’s about the ways we practice prayer. And the book is very personal. These three prayers remind me of God’s unconditional love and speak about my own responsibility. These prayers connect us with history, but also speak of very contemporary issues and needs.

“The theologian, for instance, is Reinhold Niebuhr. 20th century American pastor in Detroit when it was a boomtown. When Ford and Dodge, the Olds brothers and Walter Chrysler were creating the new American dream. Niebuhr went on from there to teach at Union Seminary in New York. In the midst of World War II, he wrote a relatively short prayer for use in a church service. Somehow Alcoholics Anonymous picked it up and now it’s known as the Serenity Prayer. Most people know the short version, but Niebuhr’s original prayer was about two-and-a-half times longer. That’s not the important part. In the chapter on this prayer, I look at some parallels between Niebuhr’s time and our own. I also look at how this prayer can keep our lives rooted in a realistic perspective on life.”

“Donigian, stop! You’ve earned the coffee. When the book is available, we’ll set up a book reading and signing. You pay for the coffee then.”

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