Joe, java, mud...it’s all good

BY BOB WACHS, News + Record Staff
Posted 5/17/19

Ann Landers used to tell her readers to “wake up and smell the coffee.” Through the years I have taken that advice literally.

Today I’ve gotten so good at it I can smell the coffee before I …

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Joe, java, mud...it’s all good

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Posted

Ann Landers used to tell her readers to “wake up and smell the coffee.” Through the years I have taken that advice literally.

Today I’ve gotten so good at it I can smell the coffee before I wake up...I think.

Coffee, I’m pretty sure, is one of the basic food groups. It is especially good when the weather is cold... or hot...or sunny or cloudy or windy or...well, pretty much anytime.

Except it isn’t good when it’s cold...the coffee, that is.

My first introduction to coffee was from my folks. They drank an instant version called Sanka. I’m not sure it’s even made any more. I haven’t seen it on the grocery shelves but I haven’t looked for it, either, having found something I like better. I didn’t consume large quantities of the coffee my folks drank, having been deemed “too young” at the time to drink coffee.

Later in my young life, having convinced my better half she would have a life full of excitement if she changed her status from being merely an acquaintance to being my better half, I dabbled a bit with coffee once again. We didn’t have a coffee pot at our little home at that time but Dan McCrimmon had a really big one at his drug store on the busy main street of bustling downtown Pittsboro.

In those glory days I had a fulltime job on the local weekly newspaper (the very one you’re reading now) and Dan’s was a mecca for all sorts of things. There you could get information on all sorts of topics and issues — local news, politics, religion, sports, the price of eggs in China. It didn’t matter; it was all there.

And coffee — the brewed kind. Actually I had gotten acquainted with Dan’s coffee when I was a teenage soda jerk there. We made coffee; I just don’t remember drinking it since chocolate milkshakes were also on the menu.

In those 20-something days of my life, I’d belly up to the counter, ask for a cup to go, and proceed to dump half a cow and eight shovels of sugar into my order. No doubt, the introduction of large quantities of the sugar has helped make me the fine physical specimen I am today.

Later I learned to cut back on half the sugar, eventually coming to the conclusion in my mind that just as real men don’t eat quiche (which is a bad thing...not the quiche, the not eating it) they also don’t monkey up their coffee with sugar.

Pretty soon, for whatever reason, I was cutting back on the moo-juice as well. Guess it just seemed like a good idea, just like smoking three packs of cigarettes seemed like a good idea when I was doing that. Then one day came the glorious day when I just skipped the cream or milk or powder version entirely.

I was drinking coffee. Only coffee.

Since then, I’m pretty sure that if all the money I have spent on coffee in various forms and places were gathered in one place we could balance the federal budget and still have a few cents left over for a cup, even if it no longer goes for a dime.

Some years ago when I labored in a full-time status at the newspaper, I would make several pots of coffee daily. Even at 9 at night on our late nights. It was very rare any was left over to be poured out down the drain.

The came the glorious day I got one of those one-cup gizmos. Best thing about them was the wide assortment of varieties that could be conjured up on a moment’s notice. The flavors ranged from breakfast blend to morning eye-opener to high test to all the caffeine with a double shot of espresso thrown in.

Fortunately for me, even though I don’t drink as much as I once did — now down to four or five cups a day instead of 18 — I can still toss down eight ounces at 10:27 p.m. as I write a column — as I’m doing now.

Thank goodness for some things not changing.

Bottoms up.

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