By Rick Houser –
This morning I made an observation that I guess I hadn’t really thought about too much. However, for some reason as I poured it, I seemed to take a deeper notice of just what I was doing. The first thought that came to me was, “Do you realize this is something that you do almost every day and have for your entire life?”
Of course I am speaking of pouring a big mug of fresh brewed and hot coffee. I guess this is something I have taken for granted. For as long as my memory serves me, there has always been a coffee pot or some way to make coffee available to me. Other than knowing that coffee is made from the coffee bean and they are grown on trees more towards the central part of this continent, my history is weak.
As a little boy, my Mom kept a coffee pot on the stove and when she wanted to make coffee, she lit the fire under the pot and after filling the pot with water and coffee grounds, she would brew up a hot and strong maybe ten cups of coffee. I think the device at that time was called a “dripolator”.
The lasting memory I have is that the pot of coffee had a strong and very aromatic fragrance that would fill the kitchen. I am not certain what magic it held, but I know my parents never started a day without a cup of coffee. For some reason as they held their cups and sipped on them, they also were able to form the plans for the day.
Dad would lay out what he was preparing to do and Mom would coordinate her day so as to fit in with what he was doing. If one listened to them closely you could hear how they were about to accomplish so much and it was all over that cup of coffee.
There were many days when we would be away from the house and it would become coffee break time. My Dad was one of the first farmers I ever saw who carried a thermos of coffee and a small bag of cookies so he could take a mid-morning break to hold him over until lunch.
As my sister Peg and brother Ben and I came along and arrived at the breakfast table, we also would pour a cup of coffee and prepare ourselves for the day ahead. An awful lot of the time we were going to be going to work with Dad because we all worked together a lot. (After all it was a family farm you know?)
As we grew older we developed a liking for the brew. It was always said that my sister was unapproachable before her first cup and a half of coffee in the morning. This was so very true. Ben became a coffee hound and drank many cups a day for the rest of his life. As for me, one or two cups with three being the limit, is my limit. I do enjoy the fresh brewed taste and the warmth that the coffee gives the body.
Mom bought a percolator and this ran off of electric to brew the coffee. We used this device for a long time. Mom always had a second two-pound can of ground coffee just to be safe and not run out. One thing I will always remember is that when a can was opened, the strong and fresh aroma filled the room. As good as coffee is it can’t compare to how good it smells. Later on and after I was married, my wife decided to move on from the percolator to a Mr. Coffee Machine. With this device, you had to put the grounds in a filter and let the boiling hot water pass through it into the reservoir to brew the coffee. It was faster and delivered a great cup of coffee.
Since the days of Mr. Coffee we moved on to a Bunn coffee maker that somehow delivered even better brewed coffee than any device that came before it. But now in this day and age things have really changed. If a cup of coffee is desired, a small cup of coffee, that is the exact portion for a mug of coffee, is inserted into a machine and with the closing of the lid and the push of a button one cup is brewed. This is called a Keurig Machine and the cup is referred to as a K-Cup. I don’t know if it is any better than prior machines but it is somewhat interesting to operate,
The bottom line is that no matter how it’s brewed there has always been coffee if I wanted some. In my world it has always been the way to start the day. Where my parents and siblings stopped with the tradition, my wife and I have kept it going. I really am not even sure coffee is good for you but I will tell you I think it sure tastes good.
I do recall that when Dad was working at home doing some electrical work or we were stripping tobacco standing inside the barn doors, he would bring along a yellow enamel coffee pot. He would build a small fire and when it was loaded with water he would pour in a proper amount of coffee grounds and brew it right there in the great outdoors. Let me tell you this. When those fresh grounds are brewing and they boil into the air, I doubt there are many fragrances that can top a new brewed pot of coffee and that is whether you like coffee or not.
These days I am still working and on weekday mornings I go to one of the nursing homes and pour a fresh cup of coffee. The cook has a certain mug reserved for me and if I get there on time I can find some folks to sit with, and as I am sipping on my cup we exchange some interesting news items from around the neighborhood. So I guess that this proves coffee will enlighten you to what is going on, just one more perk.
Rick Houser grew up on a farm near Moscow in Clermont County and loves to share stories about his youth and other topics. If you wish for more stories he has two books that are full of them. “There are Places I Remember” and “Memories ARE From the Heart”. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org