Hurray! It’s National Coffee Day!

Today is National Coffee Day.  For me this is a high holiday.  I’m always tempted to decorate and make a luscious meal with wine that I can finish off with a robust cup of coffee – maybe with cream.  I generally drink, well always drink, my coffee black.  My father looked askance at me when I put cream in my coffee as if I was committing some crime.  Marines drink their coffee black.  None of this frou frou cream stuff.  After a grand dinner, however, I like the richness of cream in a really good roast of coffee not just for the taste of it, but the mouth feel and texture.  It becomes like liquid velvet. 

I drink Folgers coffee in the morning.  I do like a mild blend first thing in the morning, but it is one of my goals to be able to afford fresh ground Tanzanian Peaberry for my a.m. indulgence.  And indulgence it would be.  I think it reasonable to say that Tanzanian Peaberry is the nectar of the gods.  In my more hedonistic days, I used to buy a bag a month from a small coffee roaster in Milwaukee who was thrilled to ship it to me.  For a price. I’ve learned in life that you can have anything you want – for a price. 

But the immediate goal is to persevere with writing until it becomes a monetarily successive gig.  I’ve progressed from hobby writer to writer writer, but I’m still seldom a paid writer.  Don’t laugh, but I’ll probably celebrate my first book sale with a fine cup of coffee.  

Taped to the refrigerator, I have a quote by me: Sometimes coffee is a religious experience and others it’s just a caffeine delivery system.   

I once scribbled that in a notebook.  I said it to a few friends and one asked if she could quote me.  Flattered, I said, “Of course.”  I tried to meme it a few years ago, but alas it did not go viral.  I really do feel that way about coffee.  Folgers in the morning is a caffeine delivery system.  A robust blend with cream after fine dining is a religious experience. 

Whatever your preference – coffee, tea, hot cider or something else – please enjoy it today on this National Coffee Day in solidarity with me.  I swear, I can’t believe I don’t at least have a t-shirt for this holiday.  I have been remiss and shall remedy that later today! 

Rose Quartz, Smooth Lava

My childhood—multifaceted – multiplaned – geometric planes.  Rose Quartz and Smooth Lava – pink and black – California and Hawaii – my formative years.  My innocent years. The years I thrived.

Photo by guille pozzi on Unsplash

Rose Quartz

I am playing in our backyard.  Vista, California.  There is an orange grove beyond the fence.  I can smell the blossoms breathing sunshine on the breeze. The ground is scattered with pink quartz.  I am not sure why.  Perhaps my mother was turning soil for a new garden. But it shimmers in the bright scented sun.  The calla lilies of the old garden had not yet bloomed.  Later.

The rose quartz an ethereal glow next to the one large snail with spiral coils on its shell.  Also glistening.  Its slow movement across the fertile soil.  Pink studded.  Glowing and shimmering.  Pink quartz scents my childhood.

Smooth Lava

Kaneohe, Hawaii.  Black lava and green mountains and the red fires of Pele forging the rock. It too shimmers but only when wet. Often the surf pounds that lava—in some places for so long that it is smooth with no jagged edges and feels good on the skin. Bare feet and legs and arms, face turned to the ocean. In others, still jagged, much younger, you can almost feel Pele’s wrath.  Don’t take her from the island.  Just don’t.  The locals tell you.  There are signs.  And portents.  My childhood – a shimmering plane of my life. I miss the joy of smooth lava. The shimmering lava touching my skin, my heart.  Smooth lava – its touch in the bright sun warms my childhood.

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A Perfect Beach Day

The sun is hot on my skin, but a cool wind sends my hair drifting on its currents.

Perfect day at the beach.  Blissfully warm.  Blissfully refreshing breeze.  Silly frou frou drink in my hand.

Frozen strawberry lemonade with vodka, whipped cream, and 3 cherries.  But no umbrella. Alas.

It’s my second one of the day.  The first one lasted nearly three hours. 

I began this perfect beach day at 10:15. Procured the vacation-only drink at about 11.  At two, we trundled up to the beach bar for blackened flounder and French fries with cocktail sauce.  And another drink.  I told the bartender twice as much strawberry lemonade, half as much booze.  He puts it in a 24 oz white Styrofoam cup.  I take most of it back to the beach with me. 

We, my friend and I, sit there until the shadows began to lengthen and the sun moves behind us.  I can feel old Sol’s heat on my shoulders and back.  I feel the stress dripping off me into the sand where the ocean took it far away.

The sound of the surf, the sound of shorebirds, a small child giggling in the distance somewhere.


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My father is a memory.


Just keep breathing. 

You can do this, you know you can, yes, breathe, in and out…

He was so handsome in his dress blues.  His hat, called a lid, on his chest along with the white gloves.  His sword at his side.  My mother said, “Still my handsome Marine.”

An officer and a gentleman to the end. 

I couldn’t touch him there in the casket.  I just couldn’t.  That other night, he was cold when I began mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.  Cold.  So wrong for him to feel that way.  I realized and quit.  Knowing it hopeless.

My father was always warm, his hugs enveloping me and spreading that warmth until it engulfed us both.  He loved me.  I him. 

And he died.

Suddenly.  It wasn’t expected.  We didn’t see it coming.  He was warm and breathing and then he was cold and still lying on the bathroom floor, lying in the casket in his dress blues.  Hat, gloves, and sword.  And medals.  His medals a mess – we didn’t know how to arrange them.  His Marine friend was too overcome with grief to do it for us.  So they weren’t even pinned on.  They were just sitting there.  Not quite a jumble, but it was as wrong as his death.

Which was also right.  He went out the way he wanted to.  No lingering illness.  No hospital.  Fine and then dead. 


My daddy is dead.

I remember the next morning lying on my bed trying to escape the pain.  Trying not to think and finally just sinking into it.  Letting the hot burning grief fill me.  All his warmth was now a blaze of sadness.  Yes, a blaze.  Great leaps of flame touching every part of me.  The little girl who sat on his lap.  The teenager who rolled her eyes.  The bride who took his arm and walked down the aisle.  The new mother who handed him his grandson. The daughter standing by his coffin unwilling to feel that cold again.

All that pain.

Wrapped up tidy for the funeral in dress blues.

An adagio of emotion.  Still, quiet, cold building to the flames and then trailing off.  Dying.  Cold…. A memory. 

My father is a memory.