It took coffee and lots of it to get us through those days and we had a rule that said the person who took the last cup of coffee was responsible to start a new pot. I was convinced that disobedience meant death by caffeine withdrawal. In three years we wore out two percolators. We thought we had so much nervous energy because we were young, full of spit and vinegar, and ready to put out a forest fire with a cup of water.
It wasn’t any of the above. It was simply the coffee.
One week we ran out of coffee twenty four hours before payday. We paced the floor, chewed our nails and slept with our eyes shut for one night. The next day we were leaning on the grocery store door when it opened.
The grocery store owner told us that Juan Valdez was fixing to name his donkey Charlie Brown.
There were other tell-tale signs once we got through school and realized how much coffee was affecting our lives.
We had worn the finish off our coffee table three times. I’d written two letters to the folks who make varnish telling them their product was inferior. The last time they wrote back and asked how many times a day we set a hot coffee mug on the table. More than three, please use the enclosed heat resistant coasters with their logo on the top.
The handle on Husband’s favorite mug had no color left on it and his fingerprints were permanently embedded in the glaze.
The Taster’s Choice couple did consider adopting us but changed their mind when we explained we couldn’t use instant coffee. It was too slow. There was a waiting period while the water boiled. However, Maxwell House French Roast did own the mortgage on our house for many years.
It got really bad when we realized we had jumped beyond perspiring in the hot Oklahoma summers. We now percolated and our only source of nutrition came from “Sweet & Low” and “Coffee Mate.”
We got to the point where we could type at least sixty words a minute. Not with our hands. Goodness no! We had to keep our right hand free to hold the coffee mug and the left one to keep it filled. We could type that fast with our toes. Might as well use all that nervous, tapping energy for something. Big toe on the space bar, then line them up ... J,K, L, ; ... and refill the cup one more time.
Husband had to go for a physical during that time and the nurse at the doctor’s office frowned when he broke the pulse reading thing-a-ma-bob. She left the room and got some kind of special apparatus containing a brand new state of the art scientific calculator to take Husband’s pulse.
When that couldn’t keep up with his pulse, she asked him how much coffee he had for breakfast.
“Two,” he said.
“That’s not so bad,” she shook the defective calculator. “Two cups isn’t so much.”
“Not two cups!” I told her. “Two ten cup pots and that’s on school days. On Saturdays, it’s more.”
She rolled her eyes and grabbed an even more high-powered calculator.
Our life’s goal was to “amount to a hill of beans” by the time we were forty. Looking back if we had all the money we spent on coffee we would be living in the lap of luxury these days.
Two cats showed up on our door step at the college apartments and we named them Cream and Sugar and taught them to lap coffee up out of a saucer. Never did quite figure out why they were so danged spastic.
I suppose the real tell-tale sign was the day we went to purchase a first aid kit for the car. Back then it was a big thing. One of those little tin boxes with Band-Aids, iodine, aspirin. All that stuff in case we were stranded on the road between Durant and Tishomingo. Seemed like a reasonable thing until we dumped the box on the bed and really looked at the contents. After a few minutes we tossed them all in the trash. The only thing we needed was a pint container of coffee, brewed with twice the coffee and half the water, and an IV hookup. That would get us through anything.
After a few years, we figured out that sleep was important if we wanted to live to see 70 candles on our birthday cake, so we cut back on coffee. I have realized that if I have two drops after supper I will count sheep until dawn arrives.
Dawn was a long time coming.
So what’s on your list this year? A new coffee pot?