Friday, August 20, 2010

Coffee and mushing

A whole world of meaning exists around coffee.

The smell of coffee excites me. Its warm, rich aroma invokes memories of cold winter days growing up in my parents' house.

Avid coffee drinkers, my parents' lives are dictated by their coffee rituals. Every night, my mom prepares the morning coffee lovingly, carefully measuring out precisely the right amount of the flavorful brown grounds. Four measuring teaspoons, rounded, not flattened. Not more. Not a dab less. The water sparkles in the impeccably clean 12-cup pot, and as she pours it into the canister for the next morning, her day is complete.

Growing up, the water would begin dripping through the grounds at exactly 5:15 a.m. These days, my parents - slackers that they are - have relaxed into a lazy retirement alarm of 6 a.m. The alarm is still the gentle percolation of rich brown coffee.

The pot gurgles and sputters like its giving birth. By 6:12 a.m., it pops and gasps a final, loud crescendo, as if trying to rouse Egyptian Pharaohs from the dead.

Instead, my mother shuffles into the kitchen in her night shirt, cigarettes in hand. She pours two cups: one for herself, lightened with creamer until its the color of vanilla taffy, and one for my dad who is already downstairs in the "smoking room."

I like coffee - all ways. Black. With cream. With half and half. With non-dairy creamer. I like the frou-frou coffee from coffee shops the best. My brew is a skinny vanilla soy milk latte, please.

I like coffee in the morning. I like coffee at night (I'm sipping some now). I like coffee on hot days and on cool. I especially like coffee in the winter, and with a book next to a fire.

Coffee sometimes means "me time." It means quietly typing away on my laptop in a coffee shop, sipping surreptitiously in a corner in decadent alone-time bliss.

Coffee means a lot in mushing circles. Most mushers I know are avid coffee drinkers.

I am thinking of coffee tonight. And mushing. Fall training starts in T minus 11 days. Do you have your coffee ready?

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