I’m not addicted to coffee, but I couldn’t live without it
There was a time I didn’t drink coffee, but now I wonder if I could really live without it. Mrs. Griz is the same way. The cupboards can be empty but, if we still have coffee, we’re OK. In fact, she reminds me well in advance when the 5-pound bag of coffe
Temperatures may be soaring into the triple digits, but I haven’t stopped drinking coffee in the mornings and throughout a good portion of the day. I’m not addicted; I just like it and a little hot weather is not enough to make me give it up for ice tea or soda pop. And, when I’m outdoors, it stays nice and hot longer than it does during cooler months like January.
There was a time I didn’t drink coffee, but now I wonder if I could really live without it. Mrs. Griz is the same way. The cupboards can be empty but, if we still have coffee, we’re OK. In fact, she reminds me well in advance when the 5-pound bag of coffee beans she keeps in the cupboard is getting low.
I got hooked when I started driving truck crosscountry. Though I had driven big trucks locally since I was 19, I took a job driving long-haul while serving a small church in northeast Nebraska. I believe I was about 30 or 31 at the time — how did I ever survive that long without coffee?
When I started at the new job, I drove team with another driver. We would leave northeast Nebraska on Sunday afternoon, deliver part of our load of frozen steaks in Denver, Colo., during the wee hours of Monday morning and the balance of our load in Missoula, Mont., in the early hours of Tuesday. Then we would bounce on over to Pocatello, Ida., or somewhere near there, to load potatoes later in the day. After a good meal, we would be off with a full load of spuds and deliver them in Omaha, Neb., or somewhere in Iowa on Thursday. We’d usually bounce home, I’d sleep a lot Friday, get ready for church on Sunday, and it was off again. I could tell you how much territory I covered on my solo runs too, but the miles driven in the allotted time might be incriminating.
Anyway, that’s when I started drinking coffee. I didn’t like it at first — shuddered at the taste — but when you’re driving at night across the wideopen spaces, sipping on a little coffee wasn’t all that bad. It kept me awake — probably not the caffeine but trying to pour the hot beverage from a thermos into my cup while I was driving down a highway and spilling it all over myself in the process.
Anyone who’s driven big rigs before the days of air-ride tractors and trailers will understand the difficulty of pouring coffee into a cup, whether driving or riding shotgun, and keeping it there after it’s poured.
Well, it worked. Hot coffee on my jeans kept me awake, and I soon acquired a taste for the stuff, whether still hot or turned cold, fresh or a day or two old. I suppose winter driving in subzero temperatures in places like Minnesota and North Dakota may have enhanced my enjoyment of the warm liquid, too.
Even though, several years ago, I finally gave up on driving the big trucks (I do still drool a bit when I see a nice conventional Peterbilt or Freightliner), my love for coffee has only grown. It’s kind of hard to do anything, whether driving or writing for the paper, without a cup on hand or in hand. And though I’ll still drink it hot or cold, I’ve grown a little more refined in my taste, thanks to Mrs. Griz, who is, perhaps, a more religious coffee drinker than I.
We had always bought ground coffee in the can — later, in a plastic container — but for some reason we decided to try grinding our own from whole beans even though this type of do-it-yourself coffee is not cheaper. You guessed it, we liked the richer flavor and got hooked. When we tried to go back to the canned grounds again, the processed coffee kind of tasted like dirt in comparison.
So now, every day, we grind coffee and brew it according to a specific formula to arrive at just the right taste. In a pinch I’ll still drink mud water, but I prefer the good stuff Mrs. Griz makes every morning. We try to limit ourselves to one pot a day, but sometimes we brew a second — one is just not enough when we’re both home.
I don’t think we’re really addicted, but when winter storms threaten and there’s a risk of power outages and no way to brew coffee, Mrs. Griz makes extra and keeps it in glass jars so that we won’t die from a lack of coffee in the event the power is off more than a few hours. We usually keep a few charcoal briquettes around, too, just in case I need to boil water outside and make coffee.
I hear tell, with the troubled economy and the uncertainties of government, some folks are stockpiling ammunition just in case, and not only for shooting purposes but for bartering. Considering our love for coffee, I think I’d rather find a way to stockpile coffee beans so, if the economy fails and the world as we know it crumbles, I can still sip on a cup of good coffee while I watch everything crash and burn.
And though coffee beans might make a powerful currency for bartering, if things really got bad and there was no money to be had, I’m doubtful Mrs. Griz would let me trade even one of our coffee beans for things of lesser importance, like food.
Randy Moll is the managing editor of the Westside Eagle Observer. He can be reached by email at rmoll@ nwadg.com. Opinions expressed are those of the author.