Marian P. Merritt - Lagniappe

Where the Bayous Meet the Mountains

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Community Coffee Snob

I think it's finally happened—I've turned into a coffee snob.

No, not the coffee of the green symbol with the lady's face on it.

But the coffee of my youth.

The coffee that created a bond between granddaughter and grandfather.

The coffee that I now have to order online because it's not available in Northern Colorado.

But worth it.

Because every morning's cup gives more than a caffeinated morning jolt. It takes me home.

Just the smell of Community's coffee and chicory brews the most delicious memories. Images of my late grandfather, who lived across the street, rising early to hand drip his coffee come to mind, and with the memory comes a smile.

I'd quickly dress for school then dash over to Paw Paw's house to have a cup of coffee and a couple of the small biscuits he cooked every morning.

Orange and brown curtains covering the old oak door's window were parted as a signal. The rousing aroma of strong coffee and steaming hot biscuits filled the air along with the Cajun French, chanky-chank music from the portable radio. And sometimes, the lingering scent of menthol. Evidence of an aging idol. The scene conveyed warmth, goodness, heritage.

He'd speak French and I'd answer in English. Both understanding the other, but comfortable speaking our own language. Two generations bridging the gap. A twelve year-old feeling grown-up, special. He'd "pass" a wink as he filled the demitasse that held my portion. More milk than coffee.

During the rare times when cold air crept into the South Louisiana swamps, those mornings have special meaning. Two pine rockers hugged the small gas heater in the kitchen/living room combination. Their worn wooden slats warmed and waiting for two different generations to share the space, to share the difference in experience and education and language. But to also share the same love of good coffee and hot biscuits. The music? Well, there are some things that younger generations don't appreciate until later...

He's been gone for almost ten years and our conversations wiggle through my brain as though they occurred just this morning. His voice and the way his prickly thin mustache moved when he spoke, continue to fill my thoughts with clear images.

Ones, I love.

Ones, I want to hold on to for as long as I can.

They comfort.

And when I think of the things I missed because I grew up in the southern most regions of Louisiana, I quickly remember those mornings with Paw Paw and nothing I missed really matters.


nettie-fudge said...

Precious memories. We each have our own and they make us smile. The Lord is so kind to give us our own to always remember.

Sandra said...

What could you have *possibly* have missed that was equal to what you had? Nothing save heaven.

Thanks for this post, warmth in reading.

Mary said...

Dear Sweet Friend, How your story of PawPaw brings joy to my heart. Today is a good day for remembering. We are blessed to have had those wonderful memories. Another thing to be thankful for. Love,

Denise H. McEwen said...

Sometimes you have to leave the place where you live and return to appreciate what you've had all along. The Wizard of Oz comes to mind.

Anyhow, John and I returned last night from Wednesday service at church, and when we walked into the house, it smelled distinctly like my grandparent's house in Austin.

Having moved to the Texas Hill Country recently, I'm beginning to understand more about the heritage I have; the mannerisms and slower pace of the population (which is fine with me at this point in my life), the small town politeness in a multi-million person city like San Antonio and even the smells.

Denise H. McEwen said...

M-By the way, great post! Blessings-D