A new coffee maker for Christmas???

imageIf you want to buy a new coffee maker, you have about a gazillion kinds (or at the old joke about George W. Bush goes, “How many is 10 brazilian?”) to choose from. A wise saying in AA is you can tell who’s an old timer by how many coffee makers they know how to use.

The test of love and friendship between anyone else and me may be whether or not I know where they keep their coffee and how to use their coffee maker. That’s at least an indication whether or not I’ve spent the night at their house. One of my oldest and dearest friends doesn’t drink coffee (doesn’t even own a coffee maker), so when I visit him I have to go out to get coffee. He did have the good sense to have someone build a convenience store about a block away, so I can walk up there and buy my morning fix–not the the world’s best coffee, but loaded with caffein.

The true test of love and brotherhood

I didn’t set out to write about coffee this morning. But then I never “set out to write” about anything. It happens. That’s all. But I’m at my brother and sister-in-law’s house in the Red Stick, Louisiana, and I’m on my second pot of coffee at 5 AM — don’t freak, each one was about two cups. Should have made one big pot. But I’m afraid someone else will get up and want a drinkable cup, and the only stuff available will be this black mud I think is the only coffee worth drinking.

The best place in the world to get a decent cup of coffee is in Bethlehem or Jericho or Hebron or any of the Mid-eastern cities where they brew it strong enough that a sensible person would drink only one of those tiny hemi-demitasse cups they serve it in–not six or eight as I might drink.

Last night my sister-in-law had only to point in the right direction, and I knew where all the fixin’s for coffee are. I’ve been at her house enough to have my own morning coffee drill. My brother can’t drink coffee (bad for his heart), but my sister-in-law does, so this is a good coffee fixin’ house.

I’m here for Christmas.

You see–those who’ve read my most recent posts–I am not Scrooge. I don’t hate Christmas. Or is it simply that I know where and when to find a cookie jar full of snicker-doodles made exactly from my mother’s old recipe?

I don’t remember my parents having coffee early in the morning. I know they did because I remember washing the pot–a wonderful ’50s aluminum thing in three sections, the middle one being the strainer where you put your coffee and let the hot water you poured in the top seep through it. No paper filters–either bleached or unbleached–to clutter up the environment in those days.

I also know they drank coffee because I have in my china closet at home (how’s that for an old gay man thing to say?) a set of pressed class plates with a little raised circle on them where the matching cup sits and you can hold the whole thing on your lap and drink coffee without spilling it and hold your cookies, too, when you come to my mother’s house for your ladies’ circle meeting. What a ’50s relic!

So here’s the grouch, the grinch, the scrooge, the depressive, the perennial complainer-about-everything typing away at the breakfast bar in his brother’s house (sitting, by the way, looking into the living room so I can see the Christmas tree) thinking with fondness, and even joy, about family traditions and feeling warm and goose-bumpy and happy to be with my siblings (my sister is here from California) for what society–since about the time Charles Dickens made us all feel this way for the first time–has decided will be, hypocritical and nonsensical as it is, the time of the year when we sing, “Love and joy come to you” and try to mean it.

I’d like just once to get through a complete thought, write a complete argument, work out a complete idea without getting grumpy, or, if I have to get grumpy, at least have the language of Sartre or Eliot or Michael Blumenthal to say what I’m thinking. But I don’t, so I’ll just say Merry Christmas and leave it at that.

Except for the fact I just discovered last evening that my brother had decided to sand the arms of my arts-and-crafts Morris Chair smooth, thus changing the chair’s value from $7000 to about $7, we really do mean it when we say to each other, “Love and joy come to you.” (I’ll get over the chair–I don’t believe in money, anyway.)

And certainty of the love of my family makes possible my wish for you, whoever, you might be, “Tidings of comfort and joy, glad tidings of comfort and joy!”

Christmas in Baton Rouge

Christmas in Baton Rouge

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