The pre-dawn hours made it difficult to focus well through squinted eyes that seared and watered with yawns of my inexperienced youth. The faint light over the kitchen sink barely illuminating the small space didn’t help the fight between my eyelids and gravity.
He was efficient in the mornings. Like everything in his life, there weren’t many wasted moves… I’m like that now. I think of him daily still, especially first thing in the morning when it’s pitch black outside and I’m in the kitchen getting ready for another day.
I remember the rituals he stuck to even after technology deemed them outdated. My mom would have the coffee ready to go, all my dad had to do was hit the “on” button. I recall how his coffee cup sat in the empty sink basin with the hot water on just above a trickle overflowing the cup gently as my dad took care of the other items that made up his morning ritual. He’d honed the art of the hot cup of coffee over decades of daily practice.
It’s funny how memories play like a movie in our minds eye when triggered by the common occurrences of our daily lives.
I can still see myself when I was a kid sitting in the chair of the living room with my hands in my jacket pockets slumped over with regret and dread, being forced from slumber to begin to taste what the future had in store as I crawled toward manhood.
I think about not being able to eat anything in the wee hours and actually feeling queasy when my dad urged me to. I have to say I didn’t mind the aroma of the brewing coffee as it filled our modest home. I recall being completely mystified by the magical aroma of coffee and how it’s wafting scent tricked and bit at my gullible tongue.
I sat slumped in silence in the front seat of my dad’s work truck sometimes with eyes closed longing for sleep. Other times taking in the sights of the small town still sleeping while the earth began to lighten as the sun announced it’s authority long before it showed its face. The constant was my dad sipping his coffee on the way to face his day.
I think about the times many years later when my dad pulled into the parking lot beside my office on the way to his in the pre-dawn mornings. Most times I was there before him and him well before his employees as he unlocked the gate to his yard… Somewhere along the way I managed to bring the senses of my nose and tongue to a mutual agreement on the coffee… I just needed some hard times, freezing weather, and some creamer to pull it off.
My dad’s ritual comes to mind almost every morning when I stick my coffee cup, with just the right amount of creamer, into the micro for the perfect twenty-two seconds.
I guess my little one will remember my rituals too, how I sip my coffee in the mornings as we chat on the way to dropping her off at school. She doesn’t like eating in the mornings, says it “makes her stomach queasy,” likes the smell of coffee but doesn’t like the taste.
I’m guessing that will probably change in time. What won’t change is the love passed from generation to generation and how it will be remembered among the seemingly insignificant things in life… like warm water gently overflowing the cup… and heart.