Saturday, March 30, 2013
A Coffee Affair
As I write this I am drinking my second cup of coffee from my favorite mug while sitting in my favorite chair. Coffee is part of my day, everyday. Typically I keep it to one cup, usually around 9:30 at work. I try and keep it to one, as I know it causes disruptive sleep, It is also one of the things my doctor always asks: "How much alcohol and how much caffeine?" I know it doesn't help blood pressure and is full of tannins which can be hard on the stomach lining. There's probably a lot more bad that I'm not even listing here, not the least of which is the whole fair trade issue.
And frankly I don't care.
You can't take away my coffee. We go way back, she and I. We met at my mom's kitchen table where mom taught us the delicate art of dunking our peanut butter toast in a cup of Taster's Choice instant coffee. I say this was a delicate art because you had to make sure the soggy toast did not break off and fall into the cup. It was a wonderful combination of peanut butter and bitter that, really, shouldn't be knocked until it's been tried. Of course, now the thought of doing that kind of turns my stomach. Toast should not be soggy and coffee should not have a sheen of peanut fat on the top of it. While I probably could do it again, I just wouldn't enjoy it like I once did.
Coffee and I have taken a number of trips together. One of our best memories is sitting around the campfire enjoying the coolness of an August morning while applying a jolt to my brain after a restless night in a tent in the BWCA. I rarely sleep more than 5 hours in any tent. Trust me, I don't camp for the joy of sleeping in. Needless to say I need something when I wake, and Folgers coffee cooked in a steel pot with a holed strainer complete with grounds strained through your teeth is just the trick. It's far from the Barista-served $2.00 cup you get at Starbucks, but it comes without pretense or snobbery and has the same net effect if you drink enough of it. It was the driving force behind the day's planning on many a camping trip and put a little back-home sanity into the insanity that was the BWCA.
Oh yeah, she and I have travelled. We've enjoyed each other's company in New Orleans in chicory fashion at Cafe DuMonde with a helping of beignets, on a balcony in San Diego overlooking the bay, in the mountains of Tennessee and Colorado and the shores of Myrtle Beach and Mexico. She's pumped me up for Northern fishing in Canada, Musky fishing in Wisconsin, and Walleye fishing in Minnesota.
While she's been there with me all through the years, like any good marriage, her physique has changed. What started as instant, grew to percolated with a plug in pot, morphed into coffee maker blend, and in her finest form she comes from a french press pot.
Her and I have a large company of friends. She's around when I'm in deep theological discussions with guys from church. I would even go as far to say she's helped with enlightenment at times. She is best enjoyed around a big table with family after a holiday breakfast. She is the great social equalizer. I find the best part of my vacations to Mercer were coffee on Mom's porch at Pine Forest Lodge. It gave me time to catch up with her and my sisters and nieces before we shot into our day.
She is the fuel of my newly discovered writing passion. Countless cups at Le Caffe Bistro, Steaming Cup and Starbucks have jittered me into taking a work that was a pile of crap and transforming it into one good enough for publication.
I've enjoyed her from mom's dainty Correlle ware cups, plastic campware cups, stainless steel mugs, festive holiday santa mugs, paper, styrofoam, ceramic, and steel cups. My favorite of late is the Courage North mug I got for volunteering at cleanup weekend last spring. It holds just the right amount. More than dainty, but less than the oversized mugs that threaten to get cold before finishing.
She's bad for my blood pressure, she keeps me up at night and her acids are destroying my stomach and other internal organs.
But I love her just the same.