C-O-F-F-E-E Is For M-E

Coffee and I go way back. And when I say way back, I mean WAY back. As in elementary school. No, I didn’t drink coffee as a child; I merely sang about its evils. I can’t tell you much of anything that I learned in music class at Sagamore Hills Elementary School except that I vividly remember the words to a catchy tune about the beverage.

Yes, my music teacher Miss Booker introduced her students to the coffee song. I think she was simply interested in getting our attention and having us participate in class. However, whoever wrote this little ditty had an agenda. Young children had to be warned that coffee should be avoided.

This song was an epic fail for the composer’s objective. Not only have I not avoided coffee during my life, but I drink it despite being able to sing the first couple of lines without skipping a beat. “C-O-F-F-E-E, coffee is not for me. It’s a drink some people wake up with. That it makes you nervous is no myth.” This tune is one you can’t get it out of your mind.

In my earlier years, I was not a coffee drinker. I don’t think that it had anything to do with the song from Miss Booker’s music class. It probably had more to do with the fact that my parents were not big coffee drinkers. They each had a cup of coffee for breakfast each morning, but that was about the extent of it. My first recollection of tasting coffee is trying some “coffee milk.” My parents were not about to let their child get ramped up with caffeine, so when I asked to sample  coffee, they gave me some which was heavily diluted with milk. It was OK, but it was nothing to write home about.

I managed to make it through college without being a coffee drinker. If I wanted a hot beverage, I had a small hot pot in my dorm room to heat water for instant hot chocolate. Seeing miniature marshmallows come to life in my mug was much more entertaining than searching for cream and Sweet’n Low to add to coffee to make it drinkable. I’m pretty sure that I got the caffeine fix I needed from drinking Tab, so coffee wasn’t needed.

The key to my becoming a coffee drinker was cold weather. Being a GRITS (Girl Raised In The South), I was in shock (and pretty numb) to experience winter up north when my Air Force husband and I moved to Ohio. Actually, i started having coffee not to drink it, but for something to warm up my hands. I’d wrap my fingers around the cup and enjoy the warmth returning to my frozen digits. At some point, I don’t know exactly when, I actually started to drink what was in the cup I was holding. Obviously it must have tasted good because I continued drinking coffee.

After awhile, I HAD to have my coffee in the morning. I, of course, owned my own coffee maker and used it daily. The coffee maker was such a good friend that it started accompanying me on trips back home to visit my parents. Yes, they drank coffee, but it was of the instant variety. BLECH!! I couldn’t stomach that, so Mr. Coffee became a travel companion.

Well, there was that one time that we left Mr. Coffee behind. It was going to be a short visit, so we figured we could just run out to McDonald’s in the morning and buy a cup. What an ordeal that turned out to be. This trip occurred BC (Before Cellphones), so when hubby, who had not grown up in Atlanta like I had, went to purchase coffee to bring home for breakfast, he got lost and could not phone home to get directions. So, he, and the two cups of coffee he had purchased, took a scenic tour of northeast Atlanta, passing CDC and the VA. An hour or so later, he managed to make his way back with the coffee which was still hot. (And now you know why there are lawsuits filed against McDonald’s for people who spilled scalding hot coffee on themselves; that is some hot joe!)

I got adventurous at some point and decided to try making my own cappuccino at home with a cappuccino machine. Yes, I was able to do it.–maybe three or four times. The novelty wore off and I was way too busy to sit around sipping cappuccino. Years later, I still have the cappuccino machine on a shelf somewhere and am still too busy to use it.

Bearing children underscored my dependence on coffee. The OB instructed me to limit my coffee intake to one cup a day. No big deal, right? Wrong. I never dealt with morning sickness during either pregnancy, but I did deal with headaches when I first cut back to only one cup of coffee in the morning. Despite that sacrifice, my daughter grew up to be a HUGE coffee lover. I think that one coffee shop near where she previously lived in Sanford, NC was kept in business by her morning stop for coffee.

My love for coffee eventually branched out to coffee mugs. While some folks buy t-shirts wherever they go, I aim to come home with a souvenir coffee mug. OK, OK. I buy a t-shirt too, but a coffee mug is my first priority. My kitchen cabinet is filled to the brim with souvenir mugs, but that doesn’t stop me from buying more. I was crushed when the mug I purchased in Ecuador was broken on the trip home. I painstakingly glued the pieces together and have it sitting on the lazy Susan on my kitchen table; I couldn’t find ALL the pieces from the breakage, so it would be hazardous to pour hot coffee into it.

And, of course, coffee doesn’t ultimately come from a  can bought at the grocery store or a cup purchased from Starbucks,  It is grown on a coffee plantation. When I wasn’t searching for coffee mugs in Ecuador, I toured a coffee plantation and actually saw the coffee beans still on a plant in the ground. I purchased a bag of coffee at the plantation and reminisced about my travels when I  returned home and made a cup of Ecuadorean joe.

These days coffee provides a good excuse to get out or to meet with friends. I can run to a local coffee shop on my own, order a specialty coffee, and work on writing projects as I savor my purchase. The selection of drinks is seemingly endless and allows me to kill two birds with one stone. I can get a caffeine fix and satisfy a candy craving at one time. Who would have thought you could drink a candy bar? Don’t believe me? Try a Snickers latte (or two). If I want to get together with a gal pal, a coffee shop provides a great venue for eating, drinking a specialty coffee (tres leches latte, anyone?), and being merry.

And, hey, why limit coffee to a coffee mug? My latest find is coffee and cream Chobani yogurt. Mmmm! And there’s coffee ice cream, coffee candy, coffee scented candles, etc. Coffee is everywhere you are.

Hopefully Miss Booker is not disappointed that I grew up to be a coffee drinker. Knowing that I remember her, her class, and the words to the song she taught us should perk her up without her even having to drink coffee. I’m being perked up by writing this blog post in the early morning with my trusty cup of coffee in a mug purchased in Budapest by my side. Yes, C-O-F-F-E-E is definitely for M-E.

Just WONDER-ing: Are you a coffee drinker? If not, why not? If so, when did you start drinking coffee? Do you frequent coffee shops? If you don’t drink coffee, do you enjoy the aroma of coffee?