Let Us Begin with Coffee

mexican-mug-with-coffee-filter Do you like coffee? Excellent. We have French Roast available for your drinking pleasure.

Should you prefer add-ons, we have heavy cream, half ‘n half, and 2% milk in the refrigerator to your left. Sugar can be found in the baking supplies cupboard directly above the counter where I am carefully pouring boiling water through the small camping coffee filter positioned above your mug.

Notice that I am giving you the very first cup. This is hard for me, because I myself prefer the very first cup –after all, I drink but half of one small cup of coffee per day— and yet I am magnanimous and am giving it to you. That is because you are my guest.

And how happy I am to have you here with me, in this quiet kitchen at dawn. Because it’s November, the sun has yet to come up. This is a situation which is only going to get worse until we reach the end of December, at which point the days will — thank God— start to get longer again, but we shall not think about that now.


Half ‘n half?

2% milk?

Sugar? Or perhaps some blue agave nectar?

None, you say? None at all? Interesting. Would you characterize yourself as ascetic, that is to say, a disciplined, semi-monastic type of person?

Come, sit with me here at the kitchen table, which was purchased at a garage sale some years back, along with four matching chairs, three of which have subsequently broken. Perhaps they were not intended for the large heft of the modern American, or perhaps they were cheaply made out of inferior wood and glue.

At any rate, nought but one remains, and there it is, right there next to the stairs, serving as a way station for items which need to be brought up to the second floor of the house. You may sit instead in one of these four wicker chairs originally intended for outdoor use, but which to my mind work perfectly well as indoor kitchen table chairs. Not to mention that all four were purchased at a season-end clearance sale, always a plus.

Let us first give thanks.

Thank you for this day. Thank you for this life. Thank you for my family, and my friends, and my students, and thank you also for the animals.

You can fill in your own thanks above. I will not write down what you say, as we here at the garage sale kitchen table believe that some things are best kept private.

Notice that we do not speak of regret, here at the kitchen table at dawn. There is plenty of room for regret in a day, not to mention a life, and yet just for this day we will keep regret at bay, the reason being that if later, later in this very day which has barely begun, an airplane or other large, airborne mass such as a giant mutant raptor with enormous talons suddenly swept down out of the sky and obliterated you from existence, would you want your last feeling to have been one of regret?

No, me neither.  Enjoy your coffee.


  1. Pepper · November 7, 2010

    This is so beautiful. So quintessentially you.


  2. hhb · November 8, 2010

    Thankyou for my coffee. Could I make you some toast?


  3. alison · November 9, 2010

    Yes, please, hhb. With PLENTY of butter, if you have it. Then maybe we could go for a long walk with our dogs.


  4. John Steinecke · November 12, 2010

    French roast, forsooth!


  5. Zdrazil · November 13, 2010

    Coffee: the one thing for which Betsy, the always-hungry-for-what-you’re-having Lhasa does not beg. One might say “she’s on to something.” I, on the other hand, don’t think so. Frankly, I really appreciate this particular gustatory blind spot on her part–or her deep understanding that I need that first cup some days just to begin the arduous task of working on becoming a decent human being. Coffee? Yes, and I’ll take the cream. I’m a half and half man myself, but I’m obviously on holiday today…


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