Saturday 9: Snowbird

Coffee and Me


So, John Sherck of Where's My Plan? wrote a great Holidailies post about coffee! When I read it, I thought, "What a great subject! I shall steal also write about it!"

I, personally, have a great relationship with coffee. I come by it honestly - my parents were both coffee drinkers, especially my Pop. When he wasn't drinking bourbon or vodka, he was drinking coffee. Of course, he drank coffee at breakfast time, but he also had coffee with dinner. With dinner, not after. His cup was full when he sat down to eat and it got refilled at least once. In summertime, before we had air conditioning, he switched from hot coffee to iced coffee, but it was always, always coffee, with a teaspoon of sugar and a little milk.

When I was little, I thought coffee was so romantic. Drinking coffee meant you were a grownup. The closest we kids got to coffee was coffee ice cream; there was no Starbucks serving up coffee-flavored sugar drinks. I really looked forward to the time when I, too, could drink coffee.

The day came when I was 13 and experiencing all the angst of eighth grade. One day another girl in my class hurt my feelings. Mom could tell how upset I was. She sat my down at the kitchen table and said, "Calm down; have a cup of coffee." So I did, and I did!

Ah, my first cup of coffee! All bets were off after that.

Skip to the summer between ninth and tenth grade. I was on a study tour to France. We were all served a continental breakfast daily and got to choose between hot chocolate and cafe au lait. I chose cafe au lait. Why? The line to get it was shorter. A lot shorter!

Coffee, of course, was a life-saver when I was on my first season of the circus. We'd finish tearing down the big top and head out to the next lot, usually well after midnight. Our first stop was always a 7-11 or truck stop where we could fill up on coffee to get us down the road. The taste of slightly burnt coffee will always remind of dead-of-night stops for fuel, for the trucks and for us. In subsequent seasons, I didn't have to help with tear down, so I got to leave in the morning. First stop? The nearest diner, for coffee and eggs.

I drank my coffee with milk and sugar in those days. I switched to black coffee in the 80s, when I was on a diet and decided that I could save a calorie or two if I drank my coffee black. It didn't take long for me to prefer it that way, although I do like a latte or the highly addictive flat white from Starbucks. Like Pop, I can pretty much drink it any time of day; unlike Pop, I drink my dinner coffee after dinner.

Aside from lovely small cups of espresso, I can't drink really dark roast coffee. I remember getting the Sumatra roast at Starbucks a few days in a row. An hour or so after drinking it, I felt a little sick to my stomach. The feeling was remarkably like morning sickness - oh my God! I was in my 40s at the time, so this was not particularly welcome news. Then I realized that it was the coffee.