When my beloved PSL made its fall debut in 2003, I actually lived in one of the last cities in America that did not have a Starbucks. Unreal, I know. We lived in McAllen, down south, at the "bottom of Texas" as Andrew would say, and the "RioPlex" of border towns were not yet on the radar of Starbucks. Mind you, the Foley's was the number two store at that time in volume, so there was plenty of money in the Mexico national tourist mecca.
And admittedly, I guess we were on their radar at that time, because one year later on October 1, 2004, the first Starbucks in the valley would open, about 4 minutes from my house. I know the date because I was there and I have a photo of myself with a giant inflatable cup of coffee to prove it. ;-)
But, back to the PSL. I guess I would have to credit my oldest sister, Ronda, for the introduction to one of my besties. Ronda was working at the time and hitting up Starbucks daily for her cup of joe, and I know her enough to know she would have been one of the first people in Houston to try a pumpkin flavored drink when the barista offered it to her. So, as I recreate it in my mind, I am imagining that I had my first PSL at Thanksgiving 2003, and it was probably on Black Friday when we went out on our annual shopping pilgrimage.
I have a November birthday. I love having a November birthday. I love fall, even here in Texas where we don't really do fall. I guess we have a little fall in November, and I guess that is why I love fall and November. I know in many parts of the country, it is already snowing in November and moving into winter...but Texas takes its time and slowly ushers in the changing of the seasonal guards, or gourds if you will, for fall. ;-)
Thanksgiving has also long been my favorite holiday. All of the joy and richness of Christmas, without any of the procurement stress for all the people on your list. It's a time of being together, being thankful, getting ready for the big burst to Christmas, but reveling in the slow pace of the waning autumn days. I love that Starbucks launched a drink just for fall. Just for me.
In 2004, I was able to get my regular fill of my beloved PSL at my new valley Starbucks. Yeehaw. Yes, I know it doesn't have pumpkin. Yes, I know it is high in calories. But, I will hand it to Starbucks for being innovative and inventive and creating a drink that is deliciousness served warm. We moved to Dallas in July 2005 and so by the third year of the launch, I was in an area where I had a pick of any number of Starbucks. In fact, my own little town has one on the corner of the bustling main intersection. Hello Dallas metroplex. Enter Starbucks heaven.
I can't count how many times I would pick up a PSL for me, and for one of the boys' teachers. I loved to bring them a cup of good cheer. It's the perfect drink to surprise someone with - not too strong, not too sweet - and I was happy to share my love of all things pumpkin with anyone who was brave enough to sign on for teaching a room full of rowdy kids. It is the official drink of Thanksgiving, right? And to whom could I be more grateful than teachers?
And now look at my baby - all grown up and ten years old. It's hard to believe I've had a decade of them. It's hard to remember life before a savory warm PSL. I'm grateful she survived the recession. I'm grateful that some things stay around for awhile. I'm grateful that new traditions can happen. I'm grateful for sisters and shared shopping excursions. I'm grateful for all things pumpkin. Served warm in a cup with whipped cream? Yes, please!
PSL ~ A Decade of Pumpkin Spice Lattes ~ September 2013
Sketch Credit: Scrapbook Generation
Paper: Simple Stories
Letter Stickers: American Crafts