Thursday, June 15, 2006

Coffee, Hope, and a Fresh Start

June 15

I woke up in a lackluster mood, no inspiration for a blog post, started anyway but thought better of it. Then I noted a comment on yesterday's blog sending me to this website:,0,901592.story?coll=la-home-health

Looks a little incomplete -- and that link may not take you there -- so I'll tell you the gist of it in case you come up with nothing. It's a Los Angeles Times article about the latest research on coffee, coming up with the conclusion that coffee helps people focus and consequently learn and perform better. This is common knowledge, or conventional wisdom, however you want to say it; yet it has been refuted over the years as other research indicates one thing or the other about coffee. Some studies indicate that coffee may be a factor in the cancer battle, either preventing or causing.

I have been a fan of coffee for years. When my daughter was born 43 years ago, my mother came to visit for that obligatory two-week-with-mother deal for new mothers of the day. At that point I and my then husband adored my mother, who was cute, chipper, and loved babies, particularly little Alison who was born with a full head of hair, just like all her own babies had been. Mama always had a wonderful, obliging nature and a good disposition. She was not one to complain or carp. She had a ready laugh and a childlike sense of fun and adventure. As long as she got her morning coffee.

The baby visit was my first real clue to this. We were meeting as adults; she was a guest in my house. I knew that she and Daddy had a percolator and had coffee first thing every morning, but I was 22 years old and was not indoctrinated into the habit yet.

The first morning she was with us was the first and only time I saw the other side of her -- disgruntled, angry, intolerant, snappish. Finally she said in no uncertain terms: I need a cup of coffee! and I learned a lesson. I learned to make coffee, too. And from then on I too had a cup or two with breakfast every day.

I have quite a history with the brew. From time to time I limit my intake, and had recently gotten it down to two cups for breakfast, two days a week. The L.A. Times piece made me feel today would have to be one of those days. I made a pot of strong stuff, and hoped the brain would do its work with proper lubrication.

I'm here to testify to the researchers: I feel brighter, more alert, ready for the day, and happy with that particular memory of Mama without her coffee and the two weeks of getting to know her better as she made the acquaintance of her granddaughter. You never know what a cup or two of Joe will do for you.


John Sweden said...

Hej ff,

I wonder if all these sudden reversals of the evils of coffee have more to do with supporting the coffee house industry. Who cares I still need my two cups of “Java Joe” each morning.

Tomorrow being Fathers Day in the U.S. of A., I thought I would indulge, along with some coffee, a few images of my connection to the mighty brew of memories.

I actually can remember first sip of coffee from my father’s mug. It was between the ages of 4 and 5 He was shipping off that day on one his of six-month sea duties with the Navy. He was sitting across the kitchen table in his uniform drinking a cup of coffee. I remember his hands wrapped around the white navy cup, which came from his ship. They seemed to be in procession of something very valuable. The smell was strong as my mom had just perked (remember perking) a pot and the aroma filled the apartment. I got up enough courage to ask for a sip. He squinted his eyes in my direction, “well I don’t think your gonna like it, but sure”. He picked up spoon took some from his cup and as I came over to him gently blew on it to cool it for my young sensitive taste. I sipped the dark brown liquid from the spoon and sure enough, I didn’t like it.

The next day he was gone and my mom was brewing another pot. I told her I wanted a cup of coffee in the same cup as my dad had. She placed the gleaming white “Corning” mug in front of me, poured a little coffee into it and like all intuitive moms added a lot of milk and little sugar. There I was, sitting in my father’s chair, having my first cup of coffee, from my father’s mug. My dad is long gone; I have this memory, his mug, and still like my “Java Joe” sweet and light.

jon said...

As for me, coffee is like it is for you all. I also had my first hit in like fashion to John S. I feel better lately, however, having only 1/2" or so numerous times throughout the day. I had been swilling away 12 cups or more in a day or night, always, and slept just fine. A drawback that I found is that the excessive caffein
makes me sweat profusely even from slight exertion. Having reduced my intake, sweating is just sweating; hereabouts, you do that anyway unless you're an AC addict living in a vaccuum. When denied my java for too long, I get a headache and getting some eases it away. Too much too strong gives me reverse DTs like those portrayed as being on "speed". A real creepy feeling.
Seems our gov't or the drug companies are missing out on a control issue ....think of all the money they'd make if coffee were a controlled substance.