Monday morning means starting off the day with the best coffee one can make!
I am often accused of making the best coffee in town , I am OK with that actually. I have prided myself of being a bit of a coffee snob!
My coffee is always amazing just the way I want it and so far people continue to ask me how I do it.
Many ask me my secret, I have a few but mainly I believe it is simply that my coffee is made with a little extra magic, love is added.
Who doesn’t enjoy a fresh cup of Java first thing in the early morning, not only is the smell intoxicating but it is as tasty as the aroma is sends through the morning air. My husband recites this each time the topic arrives.
Jimmie:” I don’t need you to tell me how fucking good my coffee is, okay? I’m the one who buys it. I know how good it is. When Bonnie goes shopping she buys SHIT. I buy the gourmet expensive stuff because when I drink it I want to taste it. But you know what’s on my mind right now? It AIN’T the coffee in my kitchen….”(Pulp Fiction)
I usually smile as I hear him shout this out first thing, it occurred to me I may need to explain.Coffee is not just a drink, it is the only item that while it IS a drink it is also a social occasion. Making time to sit and chat with a friend of one of my kids, morning coffee with my husband on a lazy Sunday, It is always a warm and tasty good time.
My love of coffee started when I saw very young, I mean very young. When I was a tiny child my grandmother Rose made that horrible instant coffee every morning. She made after dinner coffee as well . INSTANT Sanka! GROSS! She used one of those old coffee percolators ! Blip blip blip sound of it doing it’s thing. I remember the sound and the smells fondly. She would settle in with her morning coffee in a tiny tea-cup ( I do not recall ever seeing a coffee mug) She poured her coffee into her cup and reached for the china bowl with sugar cubes in it and as she dropped two cubes she would proclaim, “You’re the lump of sugar in my coffee!”
My cup consisted of cream and sugar with a splash of coffee. I loved it I felt so grown up!
After dinner she would do the same. Every day, I can remember she never changed her routines and coffee was a little time of kindness in my youth.
It’s as beautiful as it still feels when I close my eyes.
Coffee themes continued throughout my life, Often when times were very hard such as when I began college. Back in the dark ages coffee was $.50 bottomless! I practically lived on it.I studied in diners with lovely waitresses for kept filling my cup up till I almost burst. Diner coffee is not great coffee, but back then I really had no idea I was cold and hungry and coffee felt good and tasted good and kept me warm.I was holding down a full-time job working for the University of Chicago and going to school at Loop college and a few classes at Daily . I took a full load of pre nursing school. I paid every red cent myself!
It was a dark time in my life looking back, I did not have a home, I slept on friends couches never wanting to out stay my welcome. I spent time in alleys,( some nights I worked the midnight shifts .It allowed me a warm, safe and dry place to be.) Praying Id wake to see another day. Food was sparse and coffee was cheap. I was always hungry. A friend of mine told me to take up smoking just till I was on my feet it too was cheap back then and we did not know all the dangers smoking might cause. It helped me feel less hungry and between coffee and smokes I was set to study in hopes that one day I would not need to smoke and I would actually be able to buy food.
I never thought all these years later Id still smoke. It is a horrible addiction and I understand it is not good for anyone!
I will be getting a patch next week when I see a doctor.
This week I need to fix my dog. He is not feeling well.
Look at this face!
When I was a young mother with two young girls, and one on the way some days were mighty difficult. My first husband was a Sergent for the Police Dept. he was rarely home, I was for lack of better words a single married parent with the benefits of neither. Some days were extremely challenging. I would call me beloved Sandy, she always had the perfect cure. I would dial her up on the phone which hung on the wall in my kitchen. I was in tears the girls running around as children do shrieking with delight at something, nothing wrong with little children running about making lots of noise they are children doing what they do… some days though I felt so out of control and I was just winging it and was fearful I would ruin my kids. In tears Id call Sandy and tell her I was going to jump off a bridge I could not seem to make sense of much, and she would reply in the same way as always, “Dear, do you have time for a cup of coffee before you decide to jump?” Some days I was infuriated didn’t she understand I was desperate? I could never well rarely tell her NO and so I would say sure, what time do you want me to meet you, and she would say the same thing each time, “Now dear, sooner is better than later.”
Then, she would remind me she was dying , I always told her it was such an unfair card to play. True however, Sandy had Cancer and was given a short time to live, her life was cut too short It saddens me to say. So when she would kindly remind me she was dying and to waste no time, I bundled up the girls and bumbled down the four flights of stairs and strollers under one arm, hanging on to my kids in the other. We made our way down and I buckled them in, then we began our journey through Hyde Park. Making notes of all we saw along the way. Coffee Sandy wanted. I would shake my head some days. That is what she would ask for and that is what I would deliver. We made our way through the streets of Hyde Park, little feet toddling alongside of me. Taking turns in the stroller sometimes sitting on top of each other, they did not seem to mind and I was the one pushing the stroller so who cared?
We would meet at a little coffee shop not impressive by any means but it was our spot and so that is where we went.
This place is no longer there but it was a lovely spot for a cup of coffee.
I would arrive tear-stained face, my hair in a mess, two little giggling girls and one inside my tummy. They would spin around on the corner poles and I felt as if I was so out of control. ” come on ” I’d shout as they scurried inside and found a seat. I would sit down with my head in my hands and Sandy would say, ” Danish?”
I was never much one for sweets but that’s how we had our coffee for as many years as I can recall. The coffee would arrive filling steam in the air the aroma was fantastic! The Danish would arrive and the sound of my girls munching on whatever treat they had chosen. Sandy and I grabbed we chatted about whatever, sometimes she would tell me about the treatments she was doing and sometimes we laughed at how silly my girls were. We talked about the lovely weather and the people passing by we drank our coffee and a refill for extra measure she would say, and we watched as one passerby rode his unicycle with such skill.
When our Danish would arrive at the table she would look at me and say,”So why were you planning on jumping today?” I would draw a blank! I had forgotten what seemed so pressing when I had called nothing seemed wrong at all. Well other than the fact my Beloved Sandy was dying and had Cancer and I worried every day. She would crinkle up her nose in a fashion only she could do with her beautiful bold red glasses much like the ones Sally J Rafael wore. She was so proud of those red glasses and she wasn’t much for fashion though she had style all of her own. Sandy was always dressed to meet anyone. I thought she was stunning! What made her so incredible though was not her appearance, she wore her heart on the outside one could feel it when they walked into any room, I felt her heart every time she looked at me no matter the state of my mind. She always had a way that always warmed my soul and kept reminding me I could do anything, anything at all! It was time to leave but before we headed back home Sandy would ask me if I minded taking her to walk around the lake it was her favorite place. Though those of us Hyde Parker’s we referred to it as THE POINT.
That meant getting Sandy her wheelchair as she was not strong enough to make the walk but we never missed a single day the last year of her life. So wheelchair and stroller two girls and I we made our way to the place where magic happened everywhere.
The little one would ride on her lap the older would run circles as we strolled. The one in my tummy never seemed to mind the long walks by the lake and what a small price to pay for such dazzling memories I now hold.
I would push as I walked and we sat often quiet, but the two of us watched people as if it were an art. A sport of some kind. we watched as people flew their kites so high into the sky, gathering up others to help with their spool of thread before they ran out. People joined spools to see just how high they could fly them and when I tell you high I mean so high it became a speck in the sky.
freebies flying everywhere now and then one of my kids might gather up one that had flown our way sending it back wobbling through the air. They would jump up and down for joy!
Sandy would roll her chair to the edge and she would sit and stare Her place of peace I believe.
I never walked too far, I tried to give her the room she needed. It was her favorite place, she was mine.
We would sit and giggle as we watched people doing their thing a man wearing one sock too long and the other one too short, different colors, we watched as people held a wedding right there on our lake, she would whisper in my ear romance as we saw their first kiss. Magic she’d say and I have to agree.
What a view!
That first kiss is always the one, never forgotten and always remembered. Even those of us that simply passed by.
We spent many hours at this place, our place forever it will be.
Some days evenings I would come by and take her for a stroll just to see the evening sky and look as far as the eye could see. She was a special gal, one I hold close in my heart. She never gave up on me not even when I had. She had been my counselor, she had been my teacher, but above all else she was my friend. I miss her dearly not a day goes by when I don’t look to the sky and whispers so softly can you see me? I miss you so much. That is a once in a lifetime affair of the heart. I cannot put into words how greatly I appreciated her. She was one of a kind. The world took her too soon.
Sandy and a cup of good coffee could cure just about anything, though I could not repay her, coffee or not, she passed away. Making place in this universe for my son, that is what she said to me each day I would arrive. “Don’t worry your pretty little head” she would say, “I will stay till he’s born he will carry my soul”. She was correct about that my son surely does. I see her now and then when his eyes twinkle just so.I pray she knew just how much I loved her, how special I think she was. I pray she is out of pain and can see all the tremendous things I have accomplished in my lifetime. I pray she knows that I have tried my best to pass on the knowledge she gave to me. “Jolly well better ” she would have said.
So many things to see and so many giggles were had, I have not forgotten one moment it is etched forever inside my soul.
Who knew coffee cured anything?
This last weekend I had coffee with an old friend, we sipped my coffee and we chatted about old times and new. She has gone back home now and she called me to say her coffee doesn’t taste as good , but neither does mine. I miss my friend she is 300 miles away. The coffee tastes sweeter when sharing it with a friend.
I still make my coffee the exactly same way but it does not taste as good as when sharing it with someone else. My press is the same and so is my kettle, yet something is missing, I think it’s my friend.
I recall a story I have told often to friends of mine though I am not sure I do justice to it.
When my NOW husband and I were freshly new at the dating game there was a party we were invited to. I was nervous I only had met his mother once before and not the rest of his family. I was not used to meeting other people’s family Hell I was not used to family at all. Never really having one what could one expect?
I went however, and thank G-d I did. My life is forever changed from that day. It probably has kept my marriage sane for all these years.
My then boyfriend ( now my husband) would wake up too cheery almost every day shouting out things that needed to be done with a favor for this and please don’t forget that. I could not even hear the words that he spoke I had not YET had my coffee my brain did not work. I told him this plenty though he never understood . It’s a cup of coffee he’d say and I could not change his mind. Hard as I tried I could not explain that nothing happens till the COFFEE has hit my brain!
It seemed as though it mattered not much for he kept asking questions and answers refused to come.
We arrived at the party, much family indeed an Italian family at that . Though it was a mixture of both Japanese and well me, I am half Puerto Rican and half Cuban! What a combination this bunch was! I was a little shy and I am really not as a rule but in places with lots of people I don’t know I tend to get a bit uncomfortable and feel very out-of-place. I held my own that day and met many interesting people among them the birthday girl I have actually grown quite fond of over the years. We settled into the back yard after seeing a beautiful home, with a catered dinner party fit for a Queen!
The fun just began for me and my personal self . I sat very quiet listening to all that was said but it was one in particular that remains in my smile.
Apparently a huge event had taken place. she began with a story and It ended up making my day. So the storm the night before was particularly harsh it sent lightning up to the trees. That’s right it is what I have said that lightening took down her tree straight into her shed, The shed while not really a barn a red bar it was indeed. My husband though not at that point asked his mother what did you do with the tree?
Now imagine a tree.
Her reply will forever be our code, for she got it and I had not said a word!
She began in her usual style, “well there was a big bang and then I saw the huge tree !”It had fallen straight into her shed. So she continued, “I made COFFEE first the tree was not going anywhere the coffee came first!” So she made her coffee and said I will deal with the tree but not till my coffee has filled up my brain.
That’s when I saw it that look I recall, came straight from the man I so terribly adored. He shot a harsh look over at me I had said nothing so what could it be? I knew at that moment he got what she said and from that moment on he has said, I get it now no questions till Coffee has been brewed the questions can wait and the coffee cannot!
So these days my husband my love asks me no questions till I’ve had my much-needed coffee to hear it all.
When we got in the car on the way back to home, he turned to me quietly and he said. I get it my dear I really do I will never again ask before coffee I will go get you it instead!
Oh how I love him for that and so much more. It is his mother however that I truly adored. A coffee friend for life, I just knew two sugars and cream ,a half cup will do she was just like ME!
So I end here tonight a bit late, but please keep this in mind the next day or a few,
Take time for a cup with a friend or a new, coffee is pleasure and brings warm feelings as well. Spend a little time with your friend or your child just the same, share a cup of black lava go heavy with the cream! A splash of some sugar you cannot possibly go wrong. A grandchild likes coffee as much if you try, your lover, your husband or wife they all love the coffee you’ve made, if it comes with you too.
So I shall say goodnight as we say it in my home.
Say goodnight Gracie !
We shall see you again.
Take time for your friends.
Goodnight to my Sandy wherever you are may the angel rejoice, they got lucky when you arrived.
Watch over my flock, insane that it may, be I love each and everyone of them I hope you can see!
Robin~ a simple bird .
My coffee has run out.