Perched on a tall, pebbly-gray vinyl chair in my grandparent’s cozy kitchen, I stare at the coffee pot sitting on the stove, willing the liquid inside to begin playing its game of peek-a-boo in the clear glass knob on top.
I hear it before I see it.
I watch as my grandpa removes the pot from the stove and carefully pours the brewed contents into two cups sitting on the kitchen counter.
To my cup he adds a generous amount of milk and several rounded teaspoons of sugar.
He gives it a quick stir and sets it down in front of me, next to a plate of my grandma’s “molly-asses” cookies.
“Don’t tell your mom,” he says with a smile and wink.
And that my friends, is how it all began.
I was probably no older than 4.
While I would like to say it was love at first taste, it wasn’t. I’m sure it was only the dunking of my grandma’s “molly-asses” cookies that kept me begging for coffee on the days my grandpa babysat me while my mom grocery shopped.
Sadly, my grandpa passed away shortly after I turned seven, bringing my early coffee drinking days to a close.
It would be decades before I would give coffee another shot.
As a matter of fact, my husband and I didn’t even own a coffee maker in the early years of our marriage. Somebody (my parents, I think) finally bought us one, as family birthday parties required coffee. We weren’t trusted to actually make the coffee, however. (This probably had a lot to do with my husband’s offer to run more water through if anybody wanted a second cup.)
I didn’t have another sip of coffee until I was in my late 20’s, when friends of ours bought The Blue Moon Coffee Shop.
After proclaiming my extreme dislike for all things coffee over and over and over again, I was promised a drink that would make me change my mind.
A Snicker’s Bar Latte.
it was delightful. (Probably not much coffee in it.)
Now The Blue Moon just so happened to be located near the Y.
Did I mention I use to teach at the Y?
It was also close to the First United Methodist Church in Neenah.
Did I mention we were Methodist?
And since our kids’ Sunday School classes were held between services, we had to go somewhere.
Lots of coffee drinking opportunities.
And then, a few years later, when ‘Joe to Go’ came to town?
Well, that was a game changer. I mean we’re talking drive thru coffee here. Kinda foolish not to go.
By this time, I had weaned myself off of Snicker Bar Lattes, opting for vanilla lattes instead.
In 2005 (or there about) Starbucks announced it would be opening a store in Neenah.
I swore I would never step foot in the store.
Well, we all know how that turned out, don’t we?
Now I’m a soy-latte-in-the-cold-months, cold-brew-with-coconut-milk-in-the-warm-months, and an obnoxious version of a peppermint-mocha-during-red-cup-season type of girl.
(Just letting you know in case you want to surprise me someday.)
Before you judge me, Starbucks was NEVER an everyday thing.
Nor was coffee for that matter.
When I taught school, I dutifully brought tea from home.
Except on Tuesdays.
Because Tuesdays were coffee days.
How could I not support the kids’ coffee cart?
Thankfully, I’ve come a long way (at least as far as coffee making is concerned).
Some may say I’ve come too far, as I now am the proud owner of:
- a coffee cone (simply put in a filter in the cone, add coffee grounds, position over favorite coffee cup and pour hot water over the top)
- a French Press (rarely used, as I need to find the directions every time I use it…sucks the fun out of the whole experience)
- a Bialetti (used mostly when camping)
- a gallon mason jar (because you can easily make some kick a$$ cold brew with 1 cup of coffee grounds and 4 cups of water sitting in a mason jar…grounds must be strained out before drinking…unless, of course, you like chewing your coffee)
- and since last fall, a Ninja Coffee Bar
It does everything (including frothing milk)!
I’m pretty fancy.
But what I’ve come to realize, is coffee is so much more than a beverage.
It’s memories…and the feelings that accompany the memories…
hanging out with a friend while watching our kids play.
conversations about life with friends from church.
sipping steaming cups of coffee around the campfire with friends, enjoying the quiet before the kids got up.
three generations sitting around the dining room table talking long after the last crumbs of birthday cake have been eaten.
lounging in the living room while watching episodes of Friends or The Office when all three kids were home from college.
Saturday morning walks with my favorite person (even if one of us is still not a coffee drinker and is holding a chai tea latte…not talking about the dog btw).
And yes, it’s sitting at the kitchen table in my grandparents’ kitchen, spending time with my grandpa and feeling oh-so-very-special.