Saturday, March 9, 2013

Another Rite of Passage

Every single morning as I rounded the stairs and entered the middle room, through the dining room and into the sunny kitchen, the rich aroma of coffee greeted my nose. How could something smell so wonderful, and yet taste terrible, I wondered. Sometimes when I woke, Dad would have already percolated his second pot that morning. After his whip lash, he would sometimes drink about twenty four cups to help with the pain. My mother drank coffee, too, as well as everyone else in my family.
I'd look at the black liquid with disdain at times, but came to realize I'd like to start my mornings that way as well. The winter of my seven teenth year, I decided to try a cup. My parents drank it black, but they suggested I try it first with milk and sugar. I drank it that way for maybe a month, not very long. I lost the sugar and drank it with just milk. By the end of March, I learned to not put anything in it, but I needed chocolate along with the drink.
Soon though, I could imbibe without sweet stuff, but I preferred it that way. I only drank it right after breakfast, never with lunch or dinner or salty foods. Two mugs and I was satisfied. It also helped with the morning elimination routine.
When I flew to California, I found airline coffee to be putrid like promised. I had looked forward to drinking coffee and reading while I waited between flights, feeling very sophisticated. I couldn't drink this coffee and I couldn't go back to cream and sugar. The base has to be palatable to add any thing to it. This was before Starbucks and other gourmet coffee.
I started at Clepper Manor. I sat at the table with the older workers and found this coffee sat too long in the pot and undrinkable to me. My neighbor, Billy Thompson, informed me if you smoke that dulls the taste buds and that is how you can drink that coffee. I didn't take up smoking with coffee drinking. I drank Coke instead for my caffeine.
For almost two years after I was married, I only bought coffee at restaurants and take out. David still does not drink the black stuff and we didn't get a coffee maker for a wedding present. I worked midnights, so I grabbed a cup at the kitchen on the floor, sipping it during report. Mostly though the one year in the summer, I drank diet Coke.
I believe Mom and Dad got a new Mr. Coffee and brought me their old one when we moved back to Connecticut. Then I made my coffee to my specifications. I only drank it when I woke up, whenever that was.
So for years I made coffee to fit my taste of drinking black coffee until this year. Mary Ellen informed me by making it herself one day that she prefers it to be very strong, as she still adds milk. Actually, she doesn't like coffee as much as she craves the caffeine. I started this winter making it stronger than I like. I discovered the flavored creamers, though and they fit perfectly with the strong coffee. I also like the feel of a smooth drink on my stomach first thing in the morning. I stumble out of bed, into the kitchen to get that coffee going. I tried once to set it on a timer so it would be ready when I woke. My dad did this and it worked well for him. My coffee when I did that tasted stale to me. Maybe Dad kept his machine cleaner than I do mine.
Coffee is a staple in my life. I truly can't go without it or I get a headache. I had tried different times and by the third day, misery arrived with headache, lower back ache, and withdrawal symptoms. I love O'Neill coffee roasted in my old West Middlesex. The Diner there serves it and I will have a cup every time I go there, 2 mugs or more with breakfast. I buy it sometimes for home. O'Neill is the cup to stop your morning routine.
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