Jul 03 2014

It’s So Much More Than Coffee

To you, coffee is a pick-me-up. It gets you going in the morning. It keeps you going through the mundane tasks of every day life. Maybe you like its taste or smell. Maybe you like it black, or with lots of sugar. Maybe you hate coffee so you mostly just have a little bit of coffee in a cup of cream or milk. To you, it’s just coffee.

But to me, it’s so much more. You see, coffee has memories. Coffee is deep. Years ago, my dear friend Dave Barton mocked me for being a tea drinker. He said I was a p**sy and that I needed to go for the hard stuff, you know, coffee. I told him coffee was the devil and that I hated it. Then I started a terribly boring, data-entry office job. And I could barely stay awake for the nine hour shifts of just typing 5 digit codes all day. {32598 SHIFT+ENTER. 36985 SHIFT+ENTER…snooze} I had to partake in the terrible sludge the office called coffee and drown it out with hot chocolate packets. Which I also didn’t like, hot cocoa. Bleh. So this sugary, nasty concoction was choked down every day. And then I met Starbucks. And I drank my first caramel latte with a renewed vision of what the enjoyment of coffee would be. I disliked the bitter bite, but the frothy, earthy flavors were amazing.

And finally, I confided to Dave, I loved coffee. And he simply said “Gracie, I knew you would.” Because he did. And I should’ve trusted him. So as time passed, whenever I was up particularly late with a coffee habit keeping me writing into the night, or if I’d simply drank 3 or more cups before 10 a.m., I’d talk to Dave about it. With every single cup I brewed, I silently thanked him.

Dave is gone now. He passed away last December. And when I found out my heart fell apart and I cried. You see, I never met Dave in person. We met online through a company we both were consultants for. Dave lived in Palm Springs, CA and I, at the time, in Minnesota. But Dave was like the gay uncle I never had. He was a very up-beat, friendly, coffee-addicted gentleman. And he was a friend I really loved. Dave told me once he’d officiate my wedding, when the time came for me to get married again. This was before I met Nick. And you’d better believe when I told Nick this, he didn’t even have a chance to say no. And you know what, when Dave died, I think Nick cried a little for me too. Because he just knew it hurt.

But you know, coffee isn’t even just that for me. Coffee is my grandmother too, I recently realized. Because tonight when I used the same spoon to stir in my honey that I had used to measure out my coffee grounds into the filter,  I felt a little tug from Grandma Joyce too. Because that’s how she’d taught me to make coffee for her, except I think she took sugar. And only a very little. Because my grandma was a serious coffee drinker too.

Dear Dave, I think coffee habits run in my family.

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