First, there is water.
I don’t want to waste my morning coffee taking pills.
Then coffee, often carafe-aged for 24 hours, because I don’t drink a whole pot in a day. A dash of fat free half and half, then 1 minute in the microwave.
My parents drank Luzianne coffee with chicory sold in cylindrical metal containers, though as far as I know they had never been to New Orleans. Later, they drank Folgers decaf in large green plastic containers that looked like laundry detergent. It cost less, and by then money was tighter.
My mother drank hers in the morning, hot, from a cup that said Tennessee is Udderly Delightful. She had bought it on a road trip with her best friend Ann to Asheville, North Carolina, which meandered over the Smoky Mountains into Gatlinsburg, Tennessee.
My father drank his hot in the morning, then cold the rest of the day. In the summer when I was growing up, he would have a large mason jar filled with ice and coffee as he was mowing what little grass he could get to grow in our yard. Later, he had a tiny purple cup that held less than most coffee cups. I don’t know why he drank from that—it shall remain a mystery to the end of days. But it was easy to knock over, of which the coffee stains on the carpet are evidentiary proof.
I like to drink my coffee, hottish, from clear glass cups, so I can watch the cream swirl into the darker liquid. I find the patterns endlessly fascinating, a metaphor for something, though I haven’t yet figured out what. If I ever go back to college, I will study fluid dynamics. Unless there is math. Then maybe art history.
I never drank coffee until I got married, and my wife made it in the morning. But it didn’t become important to me until we moved to Minneapolis with its wonderful coffee shops. Eventually, I left Minneapolis, but coffee (if little else) stayed with me.
Coffee is a leitmotif in my short novel The Marriage Gift. Here is an example:
James walks over to the vendor. There is no line.
James looks at the sign.
The Vendor shakes his head.
We don’t have coffee.
James looks at the sign again.
It says COFFEE.
The vendor shrugs.
It's a fluid market.
James looks at the sign once more.
Coffee is a fluid.
Actually coffee is a suspension and an emulsion.
James considers this information.
It's not helpful.
My novels are a compendium of perspective just like this.
I used to drink whatever coffee caught my eye at the grocery store. Now I order Community Coffee off the internet. I imagine it tastes better. Perhaps it does. There is expertise in most things in life, not to be disregarded.
Once I mistakenly ordered whole bean coffee instead of ground. Then I had to order a coffee grinder, which cost much more than buying new coffee. I eventually decided that the enticing aroma of newly ground coffee was not worth waking everyone for four blocks around me. So I am once more grounded.
The ritual of morning coffee is a celebration of living. Dionysian in intensity. Apollonian in joy. One more night is over. One more day is given.
Morning coffee is also an allegory of life.
Image courtesy of rahulsankraft on Pixabay.com.