Friday, January 25, 2013

Yet Another Re-Run

This is the third time I've posted this...

Morning Coffee

So. I took my morning coffee on the verandah today…three cups of it, anyway, accompanied by about a third of a cigar. And, in so doing, I put off my usual routine of coffee/making the virtual rounds until rather late in the morning, as defined by folks with real lives and…um…dare I say it?

There wasn’t a cloud in the sky when I stepped outside, coffee in hand, this morning. And it was already up to 75 degrees at 0830. A beautiful day, in other words. So, there I sat, coffee in one hand, cigar in the other, feet up and feeling pretty danged good about things. I got to thinking about days gone by and of other places I’ve had my morning coffee.
The first place that came to mind was here, and this is a pic of my deck at the ol’ homestead in Fairport, NY. I was always an early riser back in my working days, and I’d often take my first cup of coffee on the deck (and sometimes the second cup, too, depending on the schedule) and watch the sun come up over the neighborhood…say around 0530, or so. In the summer time, of course, the deck being not quite as accommodating in the winter, as you can see. The thing I loved about this particular place and time was the quiet…traffic hadn’t yet begun its crawl out of the sub-division, the birds were chirping, most of the world was still asleep, and there was always a certain coolness in the air before the summer sun began warming Upstate New York. It was very peaceful, in other words, and a good place to get organized while contemplating the upcoming day.
So…various and sundry other places popped into and out of my mind, as well. The dining room table in Ferndale, Michigan that overlooked the backyard, aka “the garden,” as the Brits say. Watching the dogs chase the squirrels in the early summer morning, windows open, and warm, humid breezes blowing in and billowing the lacy curtains back and forth.
Or sitting on my patio at the house in Oklahoma City (Choctaw, actually, a suburb of OKC), looking out over the property which consisted of two acres dotted with numerous scrub oaks and two or three “real” trees (i.e., over ten feet tall). One of the real trees was a towering oak of about 40 feet or so that sported an old-fashioned two-seat swing suspended from a thick low-hanging bough. Coffee was taken in that swing too, often in the company of The Second Mrs. Pennington…but she usually only joined me in the swing on the weekends.
And then there were those times back in my Work Days when I was on the road and had to arise, get cleaned up, and get fully dressed before I had my first cup. I took those first cups in various dining rooms or coffee shops at the hotels I stayed in. London. Singapore. Beijing. Moscow. Various places in the US of A.  The coffee was uniformly bad, nearly always. A good cup of coffee in the days before Starbucks and especially overseas was a rare thing, indeed. Eventually I took to carrying my own coffee with me.
I thought about other places where morning coffee was had…places like the various apartments I’ve lived in, the Air Force chow halls, and the RV parks I’ve stayed at/in, too. My morning coffee, and the rituals surrounding it, is perhaps the one thing that has remained unchanged throughout my life. A lot of things change in life as we move forward …people, places, and things… but some things remain the same. And my morning coffee ritual is one of the constants. The end is nigh if that ever changes…
And here's a related piece:
We're still drinking our morning coffee as the noon hour passes... and we still have two cups to go before the pot is done. Some days I can go almost directly from the morning coffee to Happy Hour. Not all that often, mind you... just occasionally. It looks to be a near-run thing today.

So... thinkin' about Sunday Mornings Past... I found myself wishing I was here:

That would be the front door to my apartment in San Ramon, California, about seven or eight years ago. One of the better things about that apartment was its location, specifically the fact it was but a four minute (or less) walk from that door to the local Starbucks. I used to spend Sunday mornings sitting on the patio of that Starbucks with a couple o' three cups of The Daily Brew and the Sunday New York Times.

(Aside: I never did any of those frou-frou drinks, like "a Soy Caramel Macchiato with a double shot, Barista, if you please." Nope. That ain't me. But I
did read a frou-frou paper on the weekends, dontcha know. This being before the WSJ started publishing weekend editions.)

Anyhoo... It took me near forever to read the paper on those sultry Sunday mornings past, coz the people watching was so good. Not up to European cafe standards, but pretty danged close. Especially the women (and this is where the "sultry" adjective comes in) -- there's a reason Brian Wilson and Mike Love wrote "I wish they all could be California Girls." The boys most certainly did have a point.

There have been other Sunday morning places that were every bit the equal of San Ramon, but let's not jog too far down Memory Lane. One should live in the present, no?
Why coffee?  Because we're getting ready to pour our second cup, right now.  I've slept until noon or past every single day this week.  I know why, but I ain't tellin'.  Yet. 


  1. Great yarning, thanks. Can't agree about Starbucks: I think their's is the worst coffee I have ever tasted.

    1. Thank you, Brian. You're not alone in your dislike o' Starbucks... I used to know a lot o' folks like yourself.

  2. It's a post worthy of many more postings. Excellent memories. It reminded me of these lines:

    "For I have known them all already, known them all:
    Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons, 50
    I have measured out my life with coffee spoons."

    They're from Eliot's "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock," said by some to be one of the more memorable poems of the 20th century.

    Anyway, thanks for a most enjoyable essay. As for morning coffee, we've been enjoying Gevalia lately in the home pot. Pretty good stuff. And I'm still adding a shot of Starbucks bottled Frappacino to mine for sweetening purposes. Yeah, I know that's weird.

    1. I didn't catch that 50 at the end of the middle line of the quotation until I'd hit the publish button. It's the line number.

    2. Ah, Eliot. Another very good memory... Ol' T.S. was TSMP's favorite poet. She could quote him at will.

      As for the coffee... can you buy Gevalia locally or is it still mail-order only? I rotate between three flavors o' coffee these days: Starbucks Espresso and Columbia, and Millstone's Fog Lifter. As for your sweetener habits... that's not any weirder than me putting a level teaspoon of Ovaltine in each cup o' MY coffee... plus sugar and half & half.

  3. I don't like the SB Coffee; I am a frou-frou drink girl. GIve me a Caramel Macciato or a Chai Latte - anytime.


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