One Sip At A Time

By | August 6, 2013

Originally published as a column in the Saturday edition of the Kamloops Daily News on Saturday, August 3, 2013.

 

My mom had a coffee pot, red with black drawings. Wide-bottomed and with a spout just perfect for pouring, it often spilled while she was making coffee because someone would take her attention away from it for a second. I now suspect that it added a certain something to the whole coffee ritual.

My parents had coffee inside when the weather was cold, rainy or windy, and outside on the old bench sheltered by the grapevine during the summer months.

I used to drink coffee with them until my third year of university or so when I thought coffee made my heart jump and thus I gave it up. Missed it though every time the smell of my mom’s coffee would slither its steamy way into my room when I was visiting my parents.

My dad would ask “Are you sure you don’t want any?” I did, but every time I said “Better not.” I don’t have many regrets but the one I have is having missed one too many coffee times with my parents. It became way too real when my mom was no more.

A couple of years ago I was in one of my friends’ sunny kitchen. She was making coffee and it reminded me of my mom’s coffee, of my parents’ slow-paced coffee breaks and I said yes please when she asked if I wanted some.

The summer sun made patterns on the white table cloth and coffee tasted right.

After that, still in Vancouver, I came to discover tiny coffee shops with walls covered in old wooden panels and tables that had stories polished in them by many. Rainy days were best. I would sit and write when alone, or sit and chat when others joined.

I wondered at life’s ways by writing or chatting, and have become that much more grateful for the luxury of being tucked away to work in a coffee shop where time sits around the table just like good loving people in your life.

Then we moved to Kamloops and with us came the love for coffee. My partner and I sat in many coffee shops and came to love some more than others, but appreciate them all and the people who smile at us from behind the counter.

I sometimes meet with people over coffee and no, you don’t just choose a coffee shop, but the coffee shop for the meeting. Work-related or that hour break we sometimes need with a dear friend, coffee meetings are a good thing; or tea, for those who do not fancy coffee.

Then there’s the coffee we make at home. Cowboy coffee that is. Black, no sugar. And the coffee we make when we camp. One of the best we’ve ever had was at the feet of Black Tusk, near Whistler. Early morning sun was dunking its rays in the coffee pot we were taking turn sipping coffee from.

A few years ago when my parents came over for a visit, my mom brought me a coffee pot like hers. Same size but yellow and with a beautiful drawing of my hometown on it.

It sat in the cupboard for a while, because I was still not a coffee drinker and I could not use it for tea or anything else. It was meant for coffee so it sulked its way into idleness until I started drinking coffee again.

Now we make coffee in it and weekend mornings after breakfast find us on the front porch. If it’s winter we wrap ourselves in blankets. Only heavy rains can chase us in. And not always. There’s a certain beauty in rain and coffee mixed together.

Coffee is, you see, those few special moments you share with someone or just by yourself. It’s also gratefulness for being present in a moment, and you could argue it is a rather simple joy. It is, one that extends way beyond the rim of a pot or mug.

I often meet my partner for coffee and every time has its own flavor. Sometimes we make it a work day and write, other times we celebrate togetherness and the profundity of simple silent moments.

I will continue to be grateful for the memories we weave over coffee around the city we’ve come to love: For its charming coffee shops, for the friends we have made, for the beautiful hills that seem empty but never are, and for all the lakes that jewel themselves like a most amazing pendant around the place we are now calling home.

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