Before you start thinking that old Rick has lost his marbles, let me explain that my love affair is with coffee.
I remember one cool December morning when I was about five, I stumbled into the kitchen and stood with my back toward the Warm Morning coal heater that occupied the corner of our kitchen. Mama had stoked up the fire so hot the stovepipe was glowing as orange as the devil’s poker and the heat felt good on the back and legs of my pajamas.
Mama had the coffee pot sitting on the stove heating water for her morning coffee while she baked biscuits and fried up eggs and bacon.
Like most kids, I was interested in everything. I loved the smell of the coffee and that morning I asked if I could have some.
These days folks would probably have turned her in to DHR, but she didn’t bat an eye. She pour milk into a cup, added a teaspoon of sugar and poured in enough coffee to make it the color of a caramel apple. I sipped it tentatively, but from the first taste, I was hooked.
Later when I was drafted in the Army, I couldn’t find a lot of good things to say about the food, but the coffee was top shelf. It kept me from committing the Japanese ritual of harakiri (suicide with a big old sharp knife).
When I got back to the states and married Jilda, she was more of a coffee connoisseur than me. Back when we were so broke we couldn’t pay attention, and had very little to spend on food, coffee was at the top of our grocery list. We bought the best coffee we could afford.
We may have lived on rice and beans, but the coffee was as good as you could get at the Four Seasons in New York.
We joined the Gevalia Coffee club and received coffee from all over the world – dark roast coffee from Kenya, Columbia, New Guinea, and other exotic locales.
I make the coffee at our house because Jilda cannot articulate a coherent sentence until she’s had a cup of coffee. She also stumbles a lot and bumps into things until she gets her fix of caffeine.
Each day when the aroma of coffee wafts through the house like morning perfume, I can hear her feet hit the floor and she shuffles out of bed, and with a part moan and part growl she says – C O F F E E.
In the early years of our marriage, most of the live music was in bars and nightclubs, but these days our favorite places are coffee houses. Hart and Soul and O’ Henry’s in Homewood, Berkeley Bob’s in Cullman, the Daily Brew in Decatur, the Blue Bagel in Mountain Brook, and Red Cat on the south side of Birmingham.
Not only can you hear great live music, but you have the experience of seeing, smelling and tasting coffee. It doesn’t get any better, and you don’t wake up with a hangover.
So when the conversation turns to the loves of my life, the discussion would not be complete without talking about coffee.