Thursday, June 20, 2013

Cold Black Coffee

I found this in my list of unpublished blog posts.  I originally wrote it in a notebook several years ago.  It's funny that I had been struggling to write something about Grandma.  It was here all along.

"There are two chairs on either side of the fireplace in my grandparents' living room. On one side is Grandpa's over-stuffed recliner with its worn out springs from all the years of use. This spot was always designated for Grandpa's chair, although the chair itself changed throughout the years. Once a chair was worn, the leather cracking or the upholstery fading, Grandma would banish it to the basement where it resided next to a nearly identical fireplace in the TV room. Upstairs a brand new replacement chair would appear and Grandpa would settle into the first nap of many in order to break in this new chair.
On the other side of the fireplace sat Grandma's armchair, which was always a little stiffer. Grandma didn't sit down often. She always had a cup of coffee set on a coaster on the hearth next to her chair. It was always in the same tan and brown mug, although for a brief time she switched to an over-sized pink polka dot mug that we bought her. She would brew the coffee fresh in the morning, but after pouring her cup, would inevitably busy herself with some household chore or meal to prepare, thus leaving the forgotten coffee to cool on the counter.

Eventually it would be time for a break. After searching for a few minutes, Grandma would remember where she left her coffee, reheat it in the microwave until it was scorching, and relax with mug in hand in her armchair. Grandma drank her coffee black, no nonsense, no need to gussy it up with cream and sugar. It was a simple, hot beverage that served its purpose: to warm you up and keep you going.
As children we loved to sit and cuddle in Grandma's lap, it was the coveted best seat in the house. If you were in Grandma's lap, you had her undivided attention and nothing short of kitchen disaster could take her away from you. Grandma would make sure to move the hot beverage to its home on the coaster so as not to spill it on us, and we would climb into her lap. This is where I tasted my first cup of coffee.
I do not remember all the details, but I'm sure it was the desire to drink this magical drink that was only for adults that lead me to request a taste. Grandma was sure I would not like it, and insisted that I must wait for it to cool first. Patience is a trying circumstance for a child.
The liquid was cold and bitter. Grandma was right, I didn't like it, but I drank it anyway. It made me feel like a grown up. Perhaps if I could just will myself to drink it, I might "learn to like it" as I'd often been told of certain foods on my dinner plate. Perhaps, if I could learn to like this cold bitter drink, I would be an adult and do all the thing I couldn't as a child! Alas, it was not true, but how was I to know? To this day, I will happily drink the cold coffee after the pot has cooled. It takes me back to my childhood, to Grandma's lap, where, for a time, this simple morning cup of joe was magical."

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