I’m at our family place with most of my FOO (family of origin). The house is big enough to hold all of us, though the septic tank gets a little cranky if we flush too often or shower too long. It’s great to see everyone, to come back to this place where we have gathered most summers of my life, to raise glasses and share reader glasses and tell our stories to the younger generations. It’s all good and harmonious – until we get to the morning coffee.
We have four different ways of making morning coffee here, because none of us can agree on our Morning Foglifter (which is actually a Stumptown label that none of us has brought.) My sister has her wee french press for her “stick-a-spoon-in-it-and-it-will-stand-on-its-own” coffee. My parents have their own french press with special grinder for their strong-ish (emphasis on the “ish”) brew. My brother and niece grind their own in the morning and brew it, half-decaf. Me? Well, last month I bought a Cuisinart 4-cup drip like the one I have at home, along with ground Peet’s French Roast, because the last thing I want to do before I’ve had my morning coffee is listen to a coffee grinder. Least Favorite Sound. Ever. It’s like the Fran Drescher of kitchen machines.
I try not to read too much into the whole coffee thing. I try not to overanalyze the situation, not think that this is endemic of our familial inability to come together, to let go of our preferences and share in the common good, or the common ground, or the common grounds. At dinner we all manage to share the same bottles of wine; why not morning coffee?
Truth be told, although most of us in my family are morning people there’s a limit to our morning-ness. We are up with the sun, but we don’t really want to engage with each other until we’ve been a little dosed with caffeine. Maybe there’s grace in allowing each other our individual brews. After all, my husband foregoes the coffee and reaches for the Diet Coke, and my sister-in-law is a confirmed tea drinker, and we love them.
When we would come to this place when I was little, at the old house where we stayed before my parents built their own place, there was one percolater. Grandpa was usually up first, and the percolator was going, bubbling up in the glass lid-thing at the top. If you were a coffee drinker, that’s what you drank in the morning – no french presses, no coffee grinders, just a good waking up to Folgers. My grandfather, who had a magnificent, wry sense of humor, would laugh to see us these mornings. But he would be glad we’re all up here, whatever we might be drinking.
So I raise my mug to him this morning, with gratitude for the gift of this place, and for my morning cuppa joe.