If its Good Enough for Vietnam Vets, ....Well.....
by Donna L. Watts
(Anacostia, Wash., DC)
As a teen, I'd spend weekends w/ my Aunt & Uncle-- just to do sweet nothings filled w/teenage stuff w/cousins. One of the many many wonderful (or hilarious) memories I'd take into my 40's was the huge gigantic yellow & black can of Eight O'Clock coffee stapled on their kitchen counter. Though I wasn't into coffee yet, that aroma sure got me curious.
Funny - growing up East of The Anacostia River in DC- though middle working class fam & hood - my HS provided easy access to substances w/ curious smells. But The smell of coffee woo'ed me more than any of those 'stuffs' that were easily found by sniffing them out in HomeRoom Class.
My uncle was a mild mannered Vietnam vet who worked for Metro= Clock into work around 5am-- so we started smelling coffee @ 4. Even those nights my cousins and I partied 'til the break of dawn to sleep walk toward our pillows, that wonderful aroma would gently wake me up by 4am.
I carried that memory into adulthood. I finally tried a cup of my Aunts daily brew. ... DANG! That sludge cld get up & walk! BUT w/ my added cream & real sugar (cause I was young and poo-pooed at sugar-related consequences or illnesses) it went down bold, smooth, and carressed my buds, throat, chest and spirit w/ a strong comforting stroke.... kind of like sitting in Grandma Watts' lap.
Now what makes this first cup- my best cup of coffee is that this particular Sat, Uncle was Cutting the huge yard of grass way back by the woods, he wasn't 1/4 done. We heard the mower stop, glanced out the patio door to see him b-line it to the house.
-Took off his muddy shoes,
-Cleaned the coffee pot (which he never does cause my aunt made the coffee),
-Looked in the large can of Eight O'Clock - cursed,
-Looked in the pantry - cursed,
-Still no "clean" words, he left the house in his slippers and drove off.
-Return shortly, with two Industrial sized cans of 8'OClock and ONLY ONE---ONE I tell you!! donut!
-Brewed his coffee, placed his mug to catch the first spill,
-Sat down, lit a cigarette & calmly sipped his coffee (which I've never in my life seen him do mid-afternoon).
Mind you - we were afraid to share this pot w/him - but it smelled just so dogon good. So I stealthly(is that a word?) joined him- having my 2nd cup of coffee that day and in life.
Minutes passed in silence.
Finally, My uncle took a long drag from his smokyTreat and mumbled, "God Damn Snake out there." I thought it was so funny, I spewed coffee on everyone & spilled my wonderful cup all over me.
I was the only one laughing.
Recently, I conducted an amateur survey of working people having to clock in before dawn to find their preferred coffee of choice:
1. Veterans - ChockFullofNuts & Eight O'Clock
2. Public Transit Workers (then, approx 67% were vets) - 8 O'Clock, Seattles Best, McDonalds & 7'11
3. My Generation (40+) Any Ethiopian Blend, Any Middle East blend bought over from an ummmm Middle Easterner & 7'11
And more are saying because of the economy, they had to cut Starbucks delighted to find less expensive -better tasting and more importantly, Jolt-the-system coffees really do exist in the world.