The coffee pot quit this week. It was red with a programmable timer. I quit using the timer several months ago when I discovered coffee brewing randomly in the middle of the day. Since then, I’ve been plugging and unplugging the pot just in case it decided to make coffee again all on its lonesome.
The morning the pot quit, I was desperate. I started and restarted the red demon ten times. I didn’t get coffee, only E r r E on the digital display. After fifteen minutes of frustration, I crawled back in bed and tagged Bacon.
“The coffee pot doesn’t work. No coffee.”
He messed with it another 20 times before pouring a coke over ice and bringing it to me in bed. It was a thoughtful gesture, but Coke is a poor substitute to a coffee drinker. We drove to Target for a Mr. Coffee, no bells and whistles, but we have coffee.
I didn’t drink coffee until I discovered Starbuck’s at age 35. Not drinking coffee was a rebellious act. Drinking it became a fashion statement. Now, it’s a habit. I could stop here. Caffeine bad–gotta quit. But, coffee’s more than that. Coffee evokes memory.
When I was small, my mama drank it black and scalding. I loved the smell, but I wasn’t tempted. It seemed like drinking hot tree bark. In college I was rebellious. I would do nothing my mother did. My caffeine fix came from Coca Cola. Now, I’ve made the circle. I’m a mom coffee drinker, a lightweight compared to my mother. I drink my tree bark with Nestle’s Quick, but how I drink it doesn’t matter because I know what coffee is.
It’s sun in my kitchen window behind flower boxes stuffed full of green. My little girls are pajama-clad and sleepy-eyed while my dad, my brother, and I drink pot after pot. Talking about everything from liberal politics to car engines, we run more water through, so we can sit a little longer. Pour another cup.
It’s mountains, and the old aluminum pot on the stove in the camping trailer. My nephew brings Starbuck’s because he knows that this is a moment we won’t soon forget. What could be better than dark Sumatran roast in the cold New Mexico morning on the edge of the Pecos’ Wilderness?
It’s bringing my lover a cup in bed, so he can face the day.
It’s Swiss Miss Cocoa left with a note, “for your coffee in the morning.”
If my Methodist upbringing can substitute Welch’s grape juice for the Blood of Christ, then surely, coffee can be the fuel running our collective memories, the fuel of family and friendship. I’ll drink a cup to that.