Cups of coffee often come into my memory like old friends walking through the screen door on the back porch, the delightful sound of the “slam” jarring other memory windows open and I say, good morning – have a cup of coffee, just made.

I had spent the night with my dearest friends Dawn and Bob Green down in Luling, Louisiana, and we were sitting in soft chairs looking out to a sloping scene of longleaf pines stretching into the early darkness when he set a cup of his special carefully hand dripped darkroast coffee beside me and we both sipped the dark hot liquid and let it seek its place in the wake-up process. I can not help but think of Bob when I sip that first taste of strong morning coffee. Few people could speak as lovingly about a cup of coffee as he could.

As far back as I can remember, I was offered some coffee with my grandfather as we sat on his back porch next door looking out at the garden he had growing only a few feet away, pregnant with tomatoes, beans, squashes and turnips. My aunt Clara would have made a small pot by hand dripping boiling water over grounds until the little three cup pot was full. Years later we moved on to a percolator and then an electric pot but it wasn’t the same. My cup had enough sugar and milk in it to qualify as a candy bar rather than the stimulant it was intended to be, but I can still savor that sweet coffee aroma as we sat silently together on those old steps.

My day began around 5 AM during those years that I worked at the chemical plants on the river in Baton Rouge. It would begin with me standing before the stove ladling spoonful after spoonful of boiling water over the grounds in that little gooseneck French Drip pot. I would stand there and pour the first small cup (it was always a small cup to preserve the heat) and sip it before moving away from the stove. Only then could I begin my day.

When I was in college in Pineville, Billie and I would often take the children, Kathy and Ricky, when they were about 3 or 4 years old, and let them run around on the paths at Fort Buhlow State Park. We would sit up by a small table with a clear view of the kids and I would boil some water on a small camp stove and then make a little pot of darkroast coffee which we would sip and enjoy as the children played and the evening wore on toward our picnic supper time.

Finally, I was visiting a woman who lived in a shotgun house on the west side river road just above Baton Rouge. The house faced east and in less that a hundred yards was that huge monolith of a levy that held back the Mighty Mississippi. We had coffee on her front porch. I noted how good it was and she said it was the sock. When someone says the coffee is good because of a sock, I have to ask. She smiled and said it was not the foot kind of sock but a small one she made that lined the top of the pot where the coffee grounds were placed. She showed the pot to me and it was the same as the one I used. The unbleached domestic material served as an efficient filter and could be washed between uses. She gave me a couple and I used them thereafter.

There are other cups of darkroast. Just now I am well into my pot sitting in my soft chair looking out the two narrow castle keep windows that show a bifurcated view of he woods behind the house. CA and I enjoy our coffee each morning as we peruse the news and think about the day ahead. There might be other cups today but if not, I have been adequately infused.

Yes, I know, there is also tea, and even Dr. Pepper. It’s just not the same.

Leave a Reply