Tuesday, August 2, 2011

CLARK COFFEE GENE

I love coffee.  It is by far my favorite drink.  I drink it up from sunup to sundown and past that sometimes on until the time I go to bed.  The caffeine doesn't seem to effect me that much.  I can drink a cup of coffee right before going to bed and be asleep within thirty minutes and sleep through the night.

I recently found out where I got my love of coffee from.  When my coffee maker broke down last week, I got a plethora of condolences from cousins and aunts on my fathers side of the family.  I hardly heard a word from my mothers side.  The cousins on the paternal side were so sympathetic and discussed their own love of coffee at length over several posts on Facebook.

When I bought a new coffee maker over the weekend and posted it on Facebook, the cousins came out in full force once again from my dad's part of the family.  They wanted to know details.  They wanted to know the brand and the features that the new coffee maker had.  Then they went into their own love of coffee at length over several posts.  I thought back to Grandma Clark and remembered that she use to drink coffee a lot while my Grandma Hill never ever drank coffee.  My dad drinks coffee a lot like I do while my mother will not touch the stuff.  It is pretty easy to come to the conclusion that my dad's family gave me a strong coffee gene and I can truly say I am glad they did.

My love of coffee did not have a love at first taste happening.  It was a process that took a few years until I truly found that I was meant to be a coffee lover.  The first taste of coffee was on a camping trip with Scott, Ronnie, Larry and a few younger kids when I was about fourteen.  Ronnie's dad had taken us to Swope Park to spend the weekend in a concrete shelter that looked like a teepee.   It was a fun weekend although some not so fun things happened that weekend.  The event that directly effected me had to do with Scott.  Yes, this is the same Scott who melted his Rolling Stones album and had teased a bull until he had to jump an electric fence to save himself.  Needless to say Scott had a fun reputation and I always enjoyed having him around.

On this camping trip he had brought with him a brand new pellet gun that his dad had gotten him.  It wasn't a rifle type gun but a hand gun and the pellets were big.  That night we were goofing around in the concrete shelter when Scott discharged the gun towards the floor.  It ricocheted off the floor and up to my arm.  Luckily it was just a flesh wound as the pellet went on by my arm to his the side of the enclosure and do a couple of more bounces before landing.  I was in immediate pain and did not hesitate to let my comrades know that I had been hit.  Meanwhile Scott was looking for the pellet figuring it would be good for another firing if it wasn't misshapen too bad.  He had asked me if it was in my arm and when I said no, he immediately left me to look for the pellet.  This was a case of Scott having his priorities in place.  Meanwhile Ronnie and myself went outside to look at my arm.  There was a big red welt on it and the arm was numb for the most part.  Ronnie decided I would be okay and I agreed.  We went back in to give Scott a hard time for firing the pistol inside.

Ronnie's dad was an Air Force man.   He was probably the most physically fit man I had been acquainted with during my lifetime.  He ran several miles every day and lifted weights.  Ronnie had picked up on this from his dad and would become a member of the cross country team at school as well as have a set of weight in his bedroom that he would work out with while I sat on his bed listening to music.  I was not much into being in shape in those days, or any days since then actually.

Before we bedded down for the night, Ronnie's dad asked if anyone wanted to get up and run with him in the morning.  For some stupid reason I volunteered.  At six o'clock the next morning I was shaken awake by the father of my best friend.  He was ready to run.  He started to perk a pot of coffee up giving me time to get dressed and to wake up before we started out jog around Swope Park.

To this day I think it was the longest I have ever ran.  We ran around the old lagoon.  We ran over to the soccer and rugby fields.  Swope Park has many little roads leading hear and there.  Finally I noticed we were heading back towards the campground and so I kept up the pace.  As we came to the camp ground entrance I noticed the old man wasn't turning in there.  He was heading up towards the zoo!!!  that was another four miles at least.  MY mind said No, don't do it and I complied.  I told Ronnie's dad I would catch him later and dragged myself up to the campground.

When I got there, Ronnie was up tending a fire.  He asked where his dad was and I just waved my hand in the general direction of the zoo.  Ronnie was really kind at this point.  I remember his exact words that morning.  "Hey, don't worry about it.  Very few men can keep up with dad."  That was a nice thing to say and it did pick up my spirits a little.

Back to the coffee now.  Ronnie's dad came jogging into camp about thirty minutes later.  As he poured himself a cup of coffee he asked us if anyone else wanted a cup.  SURE I heard myself saying. There was something deep down inside that told me I was a coffee drinker.  It was some of the worst coffee I have ever had.  It had been made in a peculator over a fire.  Some of you may remember what peculated coffee tasted like.  Not very good.  Add the bad taste to it being my first cup of coffee and I had a tough time getting it down.  I felt like I was going to vomit it back up after I had drunk half of a cup and so I slipped behind the shelter and quietly poured the other half out.  When Ronnie's dad asked me if I wanted some more I politely declined.  He smiled and I knew that he knew.  Sometimes you have to swallow your pride and I did that day.  Ronnie's dad didn't say a word about it though.  That whole family was classy.

It was at school where I did learn to love coffee more than anything.  The special education class at school sold donuts and coffee before school to raise money for their special needs.  It was there that I found out that one of the best things in the world was a fresh glazed doughnut with a newspaper and a cup of coffee.  Larry and I use to walk to the school every day.  We would arrive about forty five minutes early and sit with some of our other friends in the cafeteria eating doughnuts, drinking coffee and reading the newspaper that we had gotten from some randomly picked front yard on the way to school.  (never said I was perfect).

Then the final leap into coffeehood.  I went to work for my dad the summer I was sixteen.  We arrived and dad went upstairs to brew a pot of coffee which he brought back down to the shop for us.  Well, at that time he brought it down to the shop for himself.  As I picked up a cup and poured myself some coffee, dad got this inquisitive look on his face before asking "What are you doing?"  I answered that I was getting me some coffee before starting to work.  He didn't know I drank coffee and I don't think he took it very seriously until by the end of the summer, I was drinking almost as much coffee as he was.  Nowadays, He doesn't drink as much coffee as he use to, but he always has a pot ready to brew when I go over to lunch with him and mom.

It is that Clark Coffee Gene and I have a fairly strong dose of it.

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