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August 30, 2007

Comments

Rebecca

Mr Peet's legacy should include the fact that Peets offers employment with good benefits to young people. He was the pioneer who brought the best coffee and roasting to the masses and to the gourmets who may otherwise not recall a world without Peets coffee. Thanks Mr Peet for creating this wonderful company which also provided our daughter with her first "real world" job and a fine opportunity to learn about customer service, great teas and superb coffee.

R&B Gittens

Peet was a part of our lives 1969 - 70's. His dedication to a great cup of coffee was enormous! A real professional who picked out the
best beans and knew the secrets of roasting to perfection.
Please try to get the news of his passing out to all the ex-Berkelyites that are now scattered around the country (and the world?) i know that you'd get some great Peet stories.
R&B, Cathedral City, CA

Gail Greenlees

At the Mothership (Vine Street) in the 1990's we had photos of Mr. Peet's hometown---Alkmaar, Netherlands---up on the wall. They had been taken by Shirley Betz, a regular customer who had spent time there. One day Mr. Peet came in and we spent some time discussing the photos of places so familiar to him growing up: he ice skated on that waterway in the winter with the windmill in the background, he walked across that little footbridge every day. The railing was made from gnarled tree branches. He was altar boy in that church.
Some of my favorite memories of Mr. Peet were the times when he would come in to check up on his baby. He never introduced himself as the founder of Peet's. Unless you knew him, he would have gone unnoticed. Ross or I recognized him and would have our private conversation with him. He would often buy a tin of Darjeeling Fancy and we would give him the employee discount. He should have gotten it free.

Suzy Ticho

I'm probably the only one responding who dated Alfred Peet. As a young, divorced mother getting a teaching credential at Berkeley, I discovered Peet's a year or two after it opened. I became a regular (there was no coffee like his) and we became friendly. Among other things, we shared an interest in 16th and 17th Dutch engravings and majolica. He had been, as he put it, a "slave laborer" under the Germans during WWII in Holland. He said something about them that stayed with me. Though they were brutal, he said he still felt quite stirred when he heard them singing while they marched. Alfred was an avid horseman, he was a hiker, and at that time, he was also a devout Catholic. We went to Yosemite together on a hiking trip with my five-year-old son. I was very fond of him and always have been. But his story was the coffee, and it still is. I buy it now in La Jolla, and today I saw the announcement of his death when I went for a cup.

Suzy Ticho

Philippa

Dear Mr. Peet (I revered him too much to call him Al. What great legacy you have given to so many grateful fans and friends. Not only were you a visionary and a great businessman, but you were a real gentleman.

Our paths crossed many times in the last almost 50 years. As a 30 year old I had never drunk coffee, BUT, after my first sip of his House blend in 1968, I was hooked and have been a faithful Peet's drinker ever since -- even taking my stash of beans when I travel overseas!

Immediately after WWII Mr. Peet spent time hoping to settle in New Zealand, but the lure of the US was greater, and we met again in the Bay Area almost 20 years later. Following my retirement in 2001 we met up again in Southern Oregon and I treasure the times spent sipping tea and 'talking kiwi' on our deck overlooking the Rogue Valley. God Speed dear man!

pleb1

My sympathies to Mr. Peets' family and friends. I lift my coffee cup in honor of all he accomplished!

Danny Grasseschi

I am a long time Peet's fan from the Bay Area now living in San Luis Obispo. Today was the grand opening of Peet's San Luis Obispo store (finally!). I was among the first customers this morning, but the very first customer, a woman named Sandra whom I met there, was also the very first customer Alfred Peet ever served at the opening of the Vine Street store! She said with great fondness that Alfred was a "wonderful man". I was honored to be among the first in SLO, and Alfred would have been proud to see Sandra still very excited over the coffee he created over 40 years ago. Your legacy lives on....

Danny Grasseschi

Koji Brimm

My sister went to CAL in the 70's and would always buy me coffee for Christmas. She came down to Del Rey Oaks to hand deliver Peet's coffee. I've been a Peetnik for 30+ years. Thanks to Alfred and all his co-horts.
PEACE & LOVE

~ Koji

Tim Wiesner

Good coffee is attainable...is what this boy from Kansas first thought when he had a coffee from Peet's in San Francisco. When Mr. Peet put on a roasting class with Probat, I was there. Spent 3 days with him, writing down his pearls of coffee wisdom. Soon after, I bought my own 12K roaster. I called him periodically and he always spent time with me over the phone, helping me to further refine my technique. I think of him every time I roast.

Wendell

In about 1975, my brother moved to Berkeley, and I began to visit him on occasion. My epiphany regarding Peet's (101 blend, it was) happened not long after at Fat Albert's on Grove St (Yeah, that's a long time ago). I've been drinking Peet's ever since. Consciousness-raising? Certainly! I think my learned appreciation for food and beverage began when I first tasted Peet's great coffees!

J. Smith

It absolutely makes my day when I am able to locate a Peet's nearby and enjoy their superb coffee. I am so excited and happy that we finally have one opening in San Luis Obispo, CA in 2 days!!

G. Bower

I don't know what I'd do without Peet's Guatamela coffee - I've never found anything better. I was just in Papua New Guinea and bought coffee in Mt Hagen which is grow and roasted right there- even that didn't match up. Thank you Mr. Peet, for bringing real coffee to us.

Sarina

Jammer dat in Nederland men pas leest over een persoon die belangrijk is geweest, wanneer hij overleden is!
Maar 6 jaar geleden was ik bij mijn vriendin in Amerika en zij dronk enkel zijn koffie omdat het andere niet te drinken was!

Debbie (Thow)Raynor

I knew Alfred from the Vine St. store. I was 19 and worked at one of the 2 espresso cafes in town. It was my job to go to Peets and buy the teas for the shop. I lived nearby and would either walk or ride my bike from my shop to Peets. Alfred would come to the cafe and sit and drink espresso. Alfred was so interesting- he showed me the Emeryville plant, and talked about things new to me. I remember that he wanted to hike up Mt. Tam on Thanksgiving and eat a turkey sandwich, which I thought was crazy then but sounds like a great idea now. When his niece visited he asked me to take her horseback riding with me, and we did that. Recently I have been having strong memories of Alfred and feeling like I wanted to talk to him again. What a shame that when I started to look for him I found out he had just passed. My deep sympathies go to his family and friends. I would love to talk about my memories at a memorial and listen to stories from others who knew him.

Diane Larsen

Thank you Mr. Peet for the best cup of coffee I've ever had. I'm now 63, so that's a lot of cups of coffee.

From a loyal Peetnik!

Michael Kaplan

Thank you Alfred Peet for starting the revolution and keeping it pure. Unlike many of its unfortunate competitors, Peet's has never forgotten that it's all about the coffee.

Ryan in Indy

Rest in Peace Mr. Peet. I had the privilege to work for Peet's and learn the ways of fine coffee brewing while living in Southern California a few years ago. Since then I have relocated to Indiana. I have my Major D and Garuda shipped to me here and always look forward to going to Peet's whenever I am in Chicago.

Thank you Mr. Peet for such a wonderful product that adds to so many people's lives everyday.

Lynn

We live in San Jose. In the mid 70's we started driving to Peet's in Berkeley every month for our coffee. As stores opened closer to us we didn't have as far to travel. Now, it comes to us by mail, from the grocery store, or from one of our local Peets. Still is and always will be the best!
Thank you Mr. Peet

Lynn

We live in San Jose. In the mid 70's we started driving to Peet's in Berkeley every month for our coffee. As stores opened closer to us we didn't have as far to travel. Now, it comes to us by mail, from the grocery store, or from one of our local Peets. Still is and always will be the best!
Thank you Mr. Peet

Marilyn K.

When Peet's first opened in Berkeley I knew something special had arrived and I have been a loyal fan for many years. When we moved to Southern California we were distraught without decent coffee (Peet's) and when they finally came to So. Cal. we were overjoyed. Thank you for the memories.

Mark Harmsen

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Mark Harmsen

Mr. Alfred Peet was a great man on Earth and surely lives in Heaven(8) today. He helped and guided so many people and shaped our entire coffee and tea culture. He was an honest and loving man who worked endlessly in the pursuit of ultimate perfection. Because of Mr. Alfred Peet and other creators like him, Peet's Coffee & Tea has always been a great company (since 1966) I both admire and highly respect.

I never had the opportunity to personally meet Mr. Alfred Peet, but I am certain we will meet in the future.

Mark Harmsen

Ellen Mahoney

Like wafting gales of hearty Peets
Do ghosts and notes and snapshots flit
Past the screen that shows this life
and all the scenes so hidden deep.

Cal-girl, Sophmore 1975-76 Vine St. shop. Marvin Gaye's "What's Goin' On?" playing, succumbing to my very first cup of full-on Peets--no mocha added--like breaking my cherr...oops!

1980 Menlo shop. Introducing childhood friends visiting from Florida what "real" coffee was like. "Better than Maui-wowie."

1985 "Peets by The Claremont." Visiting CA from NYC, meeting Cousin Peter, catching up over our favorite drink.

1995 Minneapolis. Receiving my first Christmas gift of...Peet's beans! YIPPEE!!! I'll make it through the tundra winters for sure now!

I'm back in FLL after a glorious 30 year world tour; I see the thread of Peets throughout. Of course! I had to leave not to find fame or fortune, but to find my Peet's! I'm still turning friends onto the best there is in the world of coffee. Alfred, if you have any pull up there, pleeeeeze have Peet's open a shop in Ft. Lauderdale, will ya? It's a lunar beach without you.


cds

I remember walking into peets coffee on Vine with my friends (indonesian/dutch) who were young teenagers such as I.

'why are you drinking coffee?' was my question.

after the cup and 20+ years later....................

peace love and happiness to you Alfred Peet.

and to all of the Peets family, peace love and happiness to you all.

Gregory Swim - San Diego

I stopped in at my local Peet’s for a coffee today. There I saw a little sign that Mr. Peet had passed away quietly in his home 2 weeks ago, at the age of 87. I was moved to share one of my early culinary memories with you.

In 1968, at just 15, I took the required driver education class in my high school. On one of our weekly drives, the teacher, Mr. Kelly, directed us into Berkeley, just a short few miles, but a universe away from my world in East Oakland. We parked the car in a quiet neighborhood, and he escorted us into a little shop on the corner, called Peet’s Coffee Tea, and Spices (yes - that WAS the original name of the business, as I recall).

As you might imagine, I was overwhelmed with pleasure at the wealth of aromas that hit me as we walked through the door. Still quite a youngster, I had never tasted coffee, but remember all too well the tantalizing perfume of roasting beans emanating from the back of the shop at Walnut and Vine, with, I learned years later, Mr. Peet himself, looking almost like a scientist in his gray smock coat, in sober concentration while manning the roaster there. That image of him has stayed with me all these years, confirming for me how seriously Mr. Peet took his coffees.

Frankly, it didn’t even occur to me at that time to order a cup of coffee. Because what really caught my attention amidst the cups, coffee brewers, teapots, and condiments on display for sale, was the inside wall of the shop, just to the right of the entrance, looking to me as though a prism had beamed a brilliant array of colors there. The wall sparkled with vivid and aromatic jewels, each a little cellophane bag of vibrantly colored herb or spice. Each little bag had a paper label with the name of its contents and a price handwritten on it. Libra that I am, I couldn’t decide which of these I would buy, but I was determined to take home one of these gems. Finally, after much pondering, I selected a bright red bag of Hungarian Paprika.

I remember excitedly displaying my purchase to my Mom that night when she came home from work, and announcing that I planned to prepare Hungarian Goulash with my acquisition. I pored over my mother’s cookbooks; finally selecting a recipe from the Gourmet Cookbook.

While I do remember making the goulash, I have no recollection of how it turned out. But I forever recall having been touched and inspired by that trip to Mr. Peet’s, about which I spoke many times in subsequent years. It was the first time I experienced the depth of flavor and aroma contained in fresh, top-grade spices.

Little did I know at the time that just a few short years later, I would become an avid coffee drinker, let alone a café manager, immersed in the food world of Berkeley in the early Nineteen-seventies, arguably a seedbed of New American Cuisine in late Twentieth Century USA. I do still remember feeling a twinge of disappointment when sometime in those early years, Mr. Peet dropped the “and Spices” from his business name, and with it the spices from his inventory.

I became, and remain to this day, a devoted Peet’s customer and, as many of my friends know well, a vocal advocate of Peet’s coffees and teas. I call it, “the best coffee on the planet.” Coffee lore has it that Mr. Peet, when offered the chance to grow his coffee business exponentially, with shops sprouting up all over (sound familiar?), declined, believing that there would be no way to maintain the highest quality. (Can there really be enough of the best coffees on the planet to supply a café on every corner on the globe?) I choose to believe the legend is true. So if it isn’t, don’t spoil my fantasy, OK? But seriously, I think the company, even today, has limited its growth, with one of the reasons being to keep it the best.

Mr. Peet, thanks for the inspiration - and the great cup of coffee!


Eric O'Rafferty

It has been a rare day over the last 15 plus years when Mr. Peet's coffee has not been part of my daily routine, even when I lived in Hong Kong for a couple of years. There is something so simple and pleasurable, yet at the same time complexly exquisite about Peet's coffee. It literally makes my day!

Blessings to you, Mr. Peet! I know your spirit each day each time I pop open the ceramic cannister and that distinctive odor wafts upward. I'm forever grateful for that.

Eric

Evelyn Hess

I worked at Peet's for 8 years, and the best day I had was when Mr. Peet came in and ordered a small cup coffee and a cookie. I didn't recognize him from the photographs I'd seen, and rang him up. He shook his head and said, "I don't pay." "Great," I thought. As I was trying to make eye contact with a manager, he said, between bites of his cookie, "I'm Alfred Peet." I was too excited to be embarrassed. We shook hands, talked about the stores ("Vine Street's Too big"), and the coffee at the Piedmont Ave store, which was brewed through a metal screen (he was mildly impressed). When I mentioned that I heard he used a medium grind for a presspot but wondered how he could push down the plunger without the grounds getting clogged, he immediately had me brew three presspots: #12 grind (coarse), #7 (medium) and #5 (fine). I was supposed to be helping customers, but who could resist? He told me to push the plunger down as soon as I poured the coffee, then pull it back up and let it steep. It worked perfectly. We both liked the fine grind best, and he told me that he actually liked it at a #4, very fine. It was great! He was so uncompromising, so opinionated, and so interesting. I think it's hard to realize that excellent coffee and tea in this country was not an inevitablility. Anyone who has woken up with a cup of Peet's owes him a profound "Thank You," especially those of us who have worked for the company. Thank you, Mr. Peet.

Lee W Hughes

Inside my tummy oh so yummy cries out my delicious pete's coffee.Sitting at the bottom i will soon pass a "turd" only a delicious cup of Pete's could conjure up.
Did i spell that right? Alfered thank you for my Pete's coffee maybe one day we can enjoy a cup together. My favorite Sumatra.

Love
Lee W Hughes the third.

Chuck Karish

In 1967, when I was a college student, I worked in a coffee house. Cutting fruit for salad and washing dishes, not making coffee drinks.

Our house coffee was Peet's Vienna Roast. It must have made a big impression on me, because even today it's one of the two coffee blends I remark upon when I taste it. (The other is dark-roast Brazilian coffee from a local roaster.)

Thanks for a life-long love of coffee, Mr. Peet!

Mary Anne Leichliter-Rice

I experienced Peet's Coffee while on vacation in San Francisco in 2001.
It was the best coffee I had ever tasted in my life...so fresh! Since then, I have been receiving two pounds of Arabian Mocha Java delivered to my home in North Carolina every month.
I was sad to hear of Mr. Peet's passing. I appreciate his vision and hope to continue enjoying his coffee for many years to come.

normanx

I grew up in Berkeley, and from the youngest age, I remember Peet's. My family was not wealthy, in fact, we were just above food stamps (once we got off food stamps)... for the longest time... but there was Peet's. The smell of the aroma, as my father slowly poured the less then boiling water through the coffee cone is a succulent memory.

"Wet the grounds first... not with boiling water, but let the water cool just a bit... after a minute or so... then add more water to drip through the cone." my father most reverently taught me once.

When I go abroad, and want to bring something without compare as a gift, I bring a pound of Peet's House Blend (my personal favorite)....

I don't drink as much coffee as I did when I was a teenager and a twenty nothing.... mostly espresso and tea now... but when I do, and I have a choice, my choice is hands down Peet's.

If you ever get the chance... go to the orginal store... on Vine and Walnut... about 20 minutes before it opens... there will be a line. And when it opens, you will be rewarded with the best cup of filter coffee you have ever tasted.

Phillip

RIP sir

Norm

The gift the quiet roaster gave to those of us living in Berkeley in 1966 has endured these many years. A quality product produced by a true gentle man who believed in his work and exhibited his passion and integrity in all he did to bring this incredible coffee to our lips.

Thank you Alfred. I remember talking to you at Walnut and Vine as we perused your enormous card files of personal blends. You were a kind friend.

Jon

I used to pass the original Peet's on my bicycle almost every day for five years. I always wondered why those idiots were lined up at the window to buy coffee, and why they were sitting on the curb to drink it. I was a proud habitue of the Cafe Med and Au Coquelet. I don't regret that. I do regret never once stopping to see why everyone was sitting on the curb drinking coffee. My friends often mentioned Peet's, but I was certain in my own tastes. Today, of course, my Peet's has to cross over a thousand miles to reach me. Odd I couldn't bother when it was only a curb. I also remember an evening a long time before my Berkeley days when I was on liberty in San Diego. My running mates and I walked past a small club with a sign that read: Tonight only: Bob Marley and the Wailers. We peeked in. There were plenty of tables open. It was before his fame. I made fun of the sign, and we went to another bar. It was obvious they couldn't spell. When I was a child, my parents took us to Rome. I overslept and missed the visit to the Sistine Chapel. Today, I still haven't seen it. Peet was to coffee as Michelangelo was to fresco and Marley to music. Some of us just have a knack for missing the very best in life.

Vance Vaughan

I lived on Walnut Street one block north of Peet's in the late 1960's. It was my great pleasure to come to Peet's and have Mr. Peet serve my coffee and an occasional breakfast pastry. And I fondly remeber the pall of coffee smoke enveloping the Mormon church across the street when he was roasting coffee at the store...

Joe

Peets coffee was my first experience with what coffee should be...and after many years of searching I still come back to Peets. Thanks Alfred, may the Java where you're at be bold, hot and free.

david roberts

I met Mr. Peet in 1975 when a fellow first year MBA, Peter Smith, and I approached Mr. Peet about letting us franchise Peet's to the world. With our best but thin MBA approach, we got an appointment, drove to his lovely home in a redwood surrounded fold in the Berkeley Hills and proceeded to tell him how much the world needed Peet's on every corner, in every city.
And to let us become the franchisors!

Well, he smiled somewhat indulgently, allowed as how he was quite content to sell coffee in Berkeley and ship to the wider world, that he didn't really need to grow a lot to be pleased with his business, but thanks for coming.

He smiled and showed us to the door, wished us good luck and went back to reading his book.

Looking back, I remember his thoughtful and somewhat bemused smile, as if he secretly knew that unminted MBAs were more dangerous and deluded than 16 year old skateboarders without helmets. We shook our heads and lamented that "Poor Mr. Peet didn't really understand what he was missing." So my friend, Peter, went off and bought a CB radio company that promptly failed, I started practicing law and building Chuck E. Cheese's Pizza Time Theatres and became a confirmed Peetnik.

Twenty years later, Peets really did begin to grow and though we don't have one on every corner, there are enough to please me and, I'm sure, Mr. Peet.

Sheila DeCosse

One visit to Berkeley in the 90's did it. I live in New York City, but am thankful that I went West. No other coffee touches Peets. it was nice to read his life story, and especially loved the birthday cake anecdote.
It is so nice in this era, to read of a man who passionately followed his quest for the best, coffee.
Sheila

Stanley Johnston

An honor to have been one of the many customers of the Vine Street store when it first opened. Mr Peet's coffee and a press-pot have forever changed the start of every one of my days. Thank you Mr Peet. A life well lived. Blessings on you and your family.

Courtney

In 1992 I matriculated from Berkeley and found myself unemployed. There were a lot of us graduates hanging out in Berkeley, relunctant to leave but unable to find "real" work. Somehow or another a bunch of us ended up employed at Peet's. We were attracted by the great benefits, flexible hours and overly educated staff..... everyone there was similarily overeducated and underemployed. I wound up at the Solano store, my friends were at Vine St. and Domingo. Even though I had to be at work at a horrendously early hour, it was bearable because someone would be there to make the best cappucino possible. Someone else who really cared about how good that morning cup would be. I learned so much about great coffee and tea..... I had worked in cafes for years without really knowing anything about the beans, the temperature of the milk, the grind.....

I have Mr. Peet to thank for bringing great coffe to me. I also have to thank him for my husband. After leaving the Solano store I found I couldn't start my day without a cup of Peet's. I began making regular stops at the Domingo store where a guy regularly worked the bar.. serving up the best lattes around. We started talking about coffee... then music... then school..... then movies. It all led to a great first date. Ten years and three kids later we still try to walk down to our local Peet's (in Capitola) on weekend mornings.

Sanford Lavine

When I first moved to the Bay Area I worked at a start-up in Berkeley. We worked long hours for little pay and a promise of future riches. The thing that kept us going was our daily supply of Mr. Peet's special programmer's elixir, "Dark French".

Many years later I still have to have my daily serving of Mr. Peet's elixir. I will always remember his friendly greeting.

I just hope his dream lives on in the compamy he started.

Fond farewell Mr. Peet......

Don A. Kruse

When I started college back in the 80's I discovered my first real cup of coffee at Peet's on Vine St. in Berkeley. About 10 years later as I was working with a business partner to escape our day jobs we decided the best location for our new business venture was in the small complex shared with that same Vine St. Peet's (plus the Peet's coffee would keep us fueled up).

I sadly observe the passing of Mr. Peet but remember how his ventures and passion have touched me throughout the years.

 Frank

I moved to Berkeley in 1967, lived on "Northside" and discovered Peet's shortly thereafter. I was a poor student (weren't we all in those days), and each Saturday morning I'd walk the half mile of so to Peet's for a cup of coffee and to buy whatever coffee provisions I'd need for the following week. We all drank our coffee on the sidewalk in front of the entrance to the store. It was one of those rituals that made life in Berkeley special in those days.

I thank Mr. Peet for my memories of those fine days. We continue to drink Peet's coffee in our household.

Dave Williams

FYI, Jim Cramer on CNBC's Mad Money has paid tribute to Alfred Peet last night and again today. It has definitely brought attention to the stock and convinced me to buy another 100 shares today. His picture in your email makes me wish that I had known him. There's an interesting recap of the Starbuck's/Peet's connection on Wikipedia that I have brought to the attention of many Starbuck's managers over the past few years. Hopefully I will someday get back to my beloved California and the BOLD coffee experience that Alfred Peet brought with him from other lands.

Aristotle Damaskos

I did not have the honor or pleasure to meet Mr. Peet, but I thank him for the gift he has given us, his remarkable coffee. When living in Oakland, it was a treat to go to Peet's for a coffee, now in Ohio, it is sent to me, unfortunately, it is never as good as at a Peet's, plus I miss the atmosphere. I look forward to a trip in Dec. and will enjoy a real cup of Peet's Coffee.

Thanks, Mr. Peet and with ever cup we drink, may we keep his memory eternal.
Aristotle Damaskos

Betty Hall Miller

My parents every morning drank coffee. It was warm, brown & tasteless.

After becoming a Quaker in 1967, I found myself often across the street at Vine & Walnut. Mr. Peet introduced coffee to Berkeleyites that was hot, brown, and flavorful.

Right now I am in NYC, having packed 2#'s of Major D's with us & printed out the Boston locations.

My home now is Santa Rosa. Civilized by now having TWO Peet's stores!

Memories in every cup.

Dee

May his soul rest in peace. And may the aromas of our Peets coffees reach Alfred H. Peet wherever he may be.

Barbara

I am a loyal fan of Peet's excellent coffee, but that devotion rests not only on the quality of the product but on the quality of teh entire organization. PLEASE do not alter your emphasis on service, outstaniding products, and efforts to educaate us about the teas and coffees we have come to treasure. Above all, even though I wish I had a Peet's closer to my home, DO NOT over expand and become like Starbuck's. I brew to brew my Peet's coffee at home rather than settle for lesser quality.

Mike K.

Peet's has delivered so much enjoyment for so many years -- all because of this wonderful man. May he rest in peace.

Allie

I have always been a coffee fan. When I used to live in Santa Rosa CA. I used to swing buy what was, as it turns out a peet's. I had my morning cup of coffee and then hit work. Now I go to work at what just happens to be a Peet's and it is the best job ever. Tuesday is for you Alfred.
Thank you
Alfred
Another thing we have in common!

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