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

Westside Eagle-Observer - - OPINION - By Randy Moll

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.

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