My youngest daughter --the one called Danger -- was having a conversation with her boyfriend, Jonathan. Perhaps it was a discussion, rather than a conversation. Maybe even a debate. I think argument might be a bit too strong.
I wasn't eavesdropping. This debate was right out in the open --around the campfire. The topic was coffee. Jonathan is against it. Jenna savors it. I come down on Jenna's side on this one. I really don't know if coffee causes hypertension and brain damage, as Jonathan seems to think. My position has nothing to do with the physical effects of a good cup of Joe. I just think that relaxing with a good cup of hot coffee at the beginning of the day is good for the soul.
I didn't become a coffee drinker until I was in my mid-20s. My parents drank coffee, of course, when I was growing up -- but they always drank instant coffee. My mama just didn't like dealing with the old-fashioned percolator they "set up housekeeping with," and all those wet coffee grounds. They kept a jar of Maxwell House instant coffee on their kitchen table. It was the "jar with the stars on top" and was said to be "good to the last drop." My daddy was always quick to point out that the last drop was good, too.
I can still remember sitting in my daddy's lap while he drank his morning coffee and read the newspaper out loud to me. Eventually he started pointing out simple words to me, which I learned to recognize. Then he started helping me learn letter sounds and helped me sound out word on my own. By the time I was 4, I had learned to read, using sight words and phonics.
I liked the newspaper, but not the coffee.
They tell me that when I was about a year old I pulled my daddy's freshly brewed coffee over on myself. I don't remember that but I have deep scars all over my right shoulder and underarm, so I suppose it happened. I never felt any resentment toward my father or toward coffee because of the incident, although I suppose if it happened today I might be put in a foster home while someone sued Maxwell House for millions of dollars on my behalf.
Honesty compels me to admit that I cannot remember when I embraced the idea of drinking coffee on a regular basis. I didn't drink coffee in college. I drank an awful lot of Coca-Cola, but I didn't drink coffee. I think when I moved out on my own I declared myself grown, bought a jar of Maxwell House instant coffee and decided that I would become a coffee drinker. It didn't take. I never could get the drink to taste right and it was just too much trouble to boil water, anyway. You can imagine how much actual cooking I did.
I suppose java became a part of my everyday life when my lovely wife, Lisa, and I were married, 31 years ago. Someone must have given us one of those new-fangled drip coffee makers as a wedding gift. Or maybe I saw Joe Dimaggio hawking them on television and bought one for myself. If it was good enough for Joltin' Joe, it was good enough for this old Porterdale linthead.
At any rate, now I look forward to that first cup of coffee every morning. Always an early riser, I enjoy the peace and solitude of the early morning, alone with my thoughts and a steamy cup of rich, freshly brewed inspiration.
I take mine with a little bit of sweetener and touch of cream. OK, half-and-half if you want to be technical. In the summer, I take it on the front porch as I watch the world pass by on Ebenezer Road, about 150 yards across the cow pasture. On winter weekends I take it in front of the fireplace, and during the week at the kitchen table while the good folks on WSB prepare me for my day.
Nothing is better than having a cup on the back deck of a mountain cabin, unless it is having a cup -- or three -- on a balcony overlooking the Atlantic Ocean along the Grand Strand of North Myrtle Beach. Hot Krispy Kremes go so well with the crash of the surf and hot coffee.
This week, I have enjoyed my coffee each morning beside a campfire -- and the campfire felt good -- while listening to the spring breakers and snow birders that have crowded into the Jekyll Island campground slowly come to life.
Just me and my thoughts and good cup of Joe. Life doesn't get much better.
Sorry Jonathon. I love you and you are a smart kid -- you must be, you are going out with my daughter -- but I will take a chance on losing a few brain cells. I have plenty to spare, anyway.
In fact, I think you should give it a try. Remember, everything in moderation --including moderation.
Darrell Huckaby is an author and teacher in Rockdale County. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. For archived columns, go to www.gwinnettdailypost.com/darrellhuckaby.