Lunch is over and it’s time to get back to work. It is a day of office tasks, morning and afternoon divided by a lunch date with a friend.
I walk to the kitchenette in my studio and turn the tea kettle on to boil. Desiring a treat, I reach for the small blue tin of Maxwell House International French Vanilla flavored cafe, recently purchased for an event.
Pulling the rubber lid back releases deep emotion from somewhere inside, and I am transported to college days. I feel young, and tears well in the corner of my eyes. Something in this simple action of self-care reminds me of another time and place.
I am eighteen and away from home for the first time. Coffee is one of my comforts, and in addition to a small French press I also bring tins of General Foods International Coffee. This feels rich and indulgent. The chocolaty warmth of Suisse Mocha offers late-night or early-morning soothing to my weary, anxious heart.
Recently I went looking for those red tins, held forever in time in my mind’s eye, only to find the blue Maxwell House brand instead. That is how I find myself opening this tin of flavored coffee beverage with tears in my eyes, curious and feeling very vintage.
I spoon powder into the bottom of a music mug and lift the whistling tea kettle from a hot cooktop. I pour boiling water and stir rapidly, giving the steamy beverage a foamy top. Lifting it from the counter, I carry it to my work space and settle in to write.
This Labor Day holiday morning is unusual as I prepare coffee for one. My husband is away with the teen girls visiting adult siblings in Richmond. I am home with a sick child and teen son who had to work. We are divided.
Instead of brewing a full pot, I take down the red single-serve coffee press, purchased the summer of ’89 to take with me to college that fall. I was inspired recently to forage through my parents’ china cabinet to see if it was still there. And it was.
This summer has been nostalgic in ways both good and hard. Mostly hard. The coffee press is good, bringing memories of preparing to leave home for the first time, albeit to a very controlled environment.
I remember wondering how I would make my necessary coffee and choosing to purchase a hot pot and this coffee maker. It bears witness to the importance of coffee to me, even then, much like this post does.
I grind beans and dump them in, boil water and pour, wait several minutes and press, transfer to a favorite mug and savor.
There is goodness and sadness. I miss my coffee friend. Slow mornings are a rarity in this season. I wish we were together in the slowness. I choose to enjoy my coffee for one as I read and write.
Grateful for a witness-bearer in vintage coffee pot form, I give thanks that it didn’t go the way of the Gucci bag. Protected from me to be found at just the right time, it now lives in safety on top of the Hoosier.