I love coffee. My favorite is really strong, French roast. Hot. Black.

Iced coffee. Flavored coffee with cream and sugar. Those are desserts. I’ll drink ’em, but that’s not coffee.

It doesn’t have to be French roast. It doesn’t even have to be good. It just has to be hot.

Is this an obsession? Maybe.

When I was a kid, my dad worked for Nabisco as a salesman. In the summer he would take me to work with him. My day was usually on a Wednesday. I loved the first stop, the Coffee Shop, Lucas B&B, with three or four other salesmen friends. They drank coffee, black, laughed, told stories. I had chocolate milk and a cinnamon roll.

Family gatherings at my grandmother’s, Mimo Epps’ house (we all called her “Mimo” except for Chip (he changed his name, too) who, around the age of 10, decided that “Mimo” sounded babyish and started calling her “Grandmother.” The rest of us stuck with “Mimo”.) there would always be an urn of coffee (40 cup urn) percolating in the kitchen. Strong and dark. No one talked about drinking coffee, they just drank coffee, laughed, and told stories. The kids played. We didn’t drink the coffee.

When I was sixteen, I worked for Safeway in Orchard Hills, in Garland as a bag boy, then as a stock clerk. We had a snack bar. Coffee cost a dime. I began to experiment. A cup of coffee, a teaspoon of ice, a teaspoon of sugar.

I soon dispensed with the ice and sugar. Black and hot.

My future wife worked in this snack bar for a while. Served me coffee and hamburger. She was pretty, a good cook, had a boyfriend. Future wasn’t here yet.

When the future arrived, and we were married and living in Houston, I remember her giving me a coffee percolator with glass side instead of metal where you could see the coffee percolating. Once, she splurged and bought some Yuban coffee, the poor man’s gourmet coffee. It was fantastic! Black and hot.

I wonder if we will have coffee in heaven. I think we will. The smell will waft through the streets. We will drink coffee, laugh, and tell stories.

For me, the coffee will be strong, black, and hot. You can have yours however you like. I can have as much as I want.

It will already be paid for.

Just like my ticket to get in.

(August 13, 2016)


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