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Love of coffee runs in my family.
When I was in first grade my grandpa retired. During his long and successful carrier as an Army officer he probably had someone make him coffee anytime he wished for one. That task then became mine. He taught me how to ‘bake’ him a nice cup of turkish coffee every day after lunch. I would boil the water with a spoon of sugar in a little džezva, add a scoop of coffee grind, wait for it to rise, remove from the flame and return to rise again. It was as black as the night and smelled divine. Grandpa always said that if I tasted it I would grow a long tail. So without ever sampling the beverage I made and perfected one daily for most of my childhood. Sometimes he gave me a coin or two and send me to get myself ice cream from the store and sit with him while he drank it. But most of the time he sat in solitude, quietly reading the newspaper, enjoying his coffee.
Grandpa always told me coffee is one of few things in the world that is always better when someone else makes it for you. It is probably the reasons most Europeans to this day drink it in company, sitting in coffee shops, break rooms or friends houses while gossiping. Just as Brits put the kettle on for tea as soon as visitors enter their home, Slovenians boil water for coffee. It is a routine that deserves time and love. I dare say the first few promotions I got at work were largely due to making great cups of coffee for my bosses.
I love coffee. The taste, the smell, the warmth as it runs through me. I used to make myself a double espresso with milk at home but I never finished it warm. On most mornings I would drink it while making breakfast, unloading the dishwasher and answering emails. Nine out of ten times I would find a cup half empty somewhere around the house in the afternoon. And since it is suppose to be made for you, I started going to our local Starbucks. The coffee is great, don’t get me wrong. But the place itself has no soul. People don’t interact, the wireless is free so customers treat is as an office. Someone is always being called by the most absurd beverage name. In fact the main reason I order a normal latte is that if I have a heart attack right there and then I do not want them to call 911 and say: ‘Quick, send an ambulance, the Venti, Non-Fat, No Foam, No water, 6 pump, extra hot, chai tea latte just collapsed by the sugar station!’.
Anyhow I realized that sitting there is wasting precious time I do not have, so these days I go to drive thru. I order my latte which as you will recall they mostly get wrong. I hand them my own cup. They charge me nearly 4 bucks for 19 seconds of beverage making and I drink it while driving. Let’s recap: I provide the cup, the seat and $4 in exchange for a warm beverage. And later in the day I get the pleasure of washing my own cup too.
But what really made me want to write this post is that today I told my son I felt like a nice cuppa and he said : let’s drive through Starbucks after the gym. And for that my dearest grandpa I am so very, very sorry.
As you all know I grew up with my grandparents.
On the weekends they often had their friends over, Mr. and Mrs. Kavcic. My grandma used to work with the lady and her husband was a farmer. Good, honest people. They usually arrived after dinner and I would sit at the table while they had coffee and played catch up. I loved eavesdropping on their discussions about politics and economy. Then I would say my goodnights and be send to bed. The game of cards was about to begin.
They would play tarok. It is a very interactive and competitive game and because teams are made up differently each time the banter between players is brilliant. It was at least in our house. I used to sneak out of bed, walk across the long hallway of our old apartment and hide behind the closed kitchen door. And listen. They were so funny and full of life. Not the kind of people I knew, serious and old-fashioned, with strict rules and all around adult and responsible behavior. They laughed and shouted, they teased each other and banged on the table as cards fell down on the antique wood.
It was a very rare time for me to peak into lives of my parents. Sure I lived with them and after my grandfather retired when I was six the three of us were always together. But it was old school parenting. They never played with me tea parties or did crafts. I followed my grandpa around doing things he did or liked. I played by myself. Or went outside to the playground and played with other children. It was different. And sometimes I think that it might have been better.
I often wonder if my son really thinks of me as an adult. Sure he says I am old, a lot. But does he understand the difference between adults and children? Like the other day when he said to me we should punish daddy for being late. Or ignoring my plea to put his socks on for the 13th time. Was I like that? I doubt I would have gotten away with it.
A few weeks ago my husband invited his colleague and old friend whom he has not seen in years over for dinner while he was visiting town. It was close to Little J’s bed time so after we ate I excused us and went upstairs to get him ready for the night. He brushed his teeth and put his PJ’s on and I asked if he wants to go down to say good bye to Daddy’s friend.
From the top of the stairs I heard him say:
“It was nice meeting you. Hope you come back to visit us soon. Good night.”
He pinched some popcorn and came back up. I tucked him in and kissed him good night.
I think my grandpa would be proud.