Grownups and Their Coffee Time
It may only last for thirty minutes, but I could count on my parents’ coffee time as predictable and sweet. A nice memory.
Today, the sun is rising in the sky, colors are coming alive, and my husband is becoming fully awake. He starts the coffee. Then, my nostrils catch a rising fragrance like none other. It’s strong. It’s coffee.
It’s old in my memory.
When I was young, my parents had an hour or so before my father left for work. I didn’t drink coffee, but I enjoyed the smell of it and the sound of the percolator.
Today, I think I blended the smell of coffee and the sound of the percolator with the sweet quiet time my parents had alone at the kitchen table. I couldn’t hear what was being said (I was still in bed), but I could hear the sweetness of those early hours.
I think I may still have all of that sweetness blended with mountain grown coffee. It’s not there when I think of Coke or iced tea. Just when I think of coffee. Can anyone else identify with an image and smell?
Small house, parents talking low, that wondrous scent.
When, at last, I tasted coffee, I was wholeheartedly disappointed. It made me sad that I was not a coffee-drinking girl. I abstained for years.
I’d say, “No, thanks,” when people offered coffee.
I look back on that time and wonder how did I ever get through graduate school?
Then, a father-in-law fixed me a cup of coffee. He may have seen it as a challenge. He used plenty of cream and sugar. Probably became something close to cappuccino by the time he finished with it. I knew he went to a lot of trouble for me, so I tasted it. A second sip, then a third.
It convinced me. I could drink coffee if I added some goody to it. Thereafter, that’s how I took my coffee.
I’ve heard people say lots of things about coffee over the years—things like "It's too hot for coffee," or "Oh, that's instant coffee...." Or "I have to have it as a latte." I know exactly what they mean, but I’m over it. I can drink coffee almost any way it can be fixed.
Then, an ear-nose-throat doctor took me off of coffee for a year. I survived but found my way back to it. When I returned to it, it was like coming home.
I now can drink coffee from any pot, any time of day. I sorely miss having coffee with a sister-in-law at 4 p.m. in the afternoon. It was our time for coffee and a sweet of some sort. Just a little sweet, not cake or pie. Well now, unless we had cake or pie….
I think coffee pulls me back home. Any home I’ve ever known. The one I grew up in, the one I married into, the one I helped create. I think that’s what that fragrance does for me. It takes me home. That’s why, I think, it hooks me. It’s all about parents, husband, relatives, friends.
Is it really about relationships? Well, I’m wondering. I think it’s possible. Today, it seems that way to me. Not all about the coffee bean? Possibly not. It’s just my theory at this point.
They say it’s the caffeine. That probably has impact, but what about the homecoming aspect? Am I the only one who connects coffee smells with home?
And Mrs. Olson. What about her? She was like my own neighbor when I was introduced to coffee. She was part of a series of Folger's Coffee television commercials. I thought she was great. Loved her accent. Remember? I definitely believed she knew what she was talking about. Very convincing. I still favor Folger's, but I am not unhappy when I drink Maxwell House or Community Coffee. I can see that I was brainwashed by an ad.
The ad and all the memories I have of waking up to the smell of coffee and parents in the kitchen, talking softly.
In those times, I was not worried or upset about anything. If I add coffee scent, it’s perfect. It may even be a dream. Yes, a powerfully good dream.
For fear of offending someone, I need to say that I know that coffee-time or relationship-time does not equal prayer and petition, thanksgiving or precious God-time. The peace of God is the best, but I’m saying that coffee, home, parents were sweet, too.
In our home, Jimmy makes the coffee. I awaken to his alarm, but I wait for the fragrance. It then pulls me out of bed, and I want the soft talk that goes with it.
P.S. I hope you’ll comment if you know something about coffee and relationships going together. I always look forward to comments!
Two morning coffee cups at the Durmon house. Photograph taken by Pat Durmon, August 2021.
Poetry Books by Pat Durmon