Posted tagged ‘bad coffee’

“I believe in rituals.”

October 16, 2014

Last night it rained and today it is supposed to rain again, heavily. The sun is popping in and out of the clouds. The temperatures of the last couple of days have been in the 70’s with mild nights in the 60’s. My windows are opened and the front door still has its screen. Gracie sits there and looks out for the longest time. I wonder what keeps her interest as my street is a quiet one. I stand with her every now and then just to keep her company.

All my life I have had morning rituals. During my childhood the weekday mornings were always the same. Get up, get dressed, eat breakfast, do teeth then walk to school. For breakfast I always drank cocoa. My mother gave us toast and eggs and in the winter we had oatmeal, the sort which always has lumps. When I was in high school, I had to get up earlier and getting the bus was added to the ritual. In college, I grabbed breakfast on the way out, and every morning my friends and I would sit together in the canteen, drink coffee and race each other in finishing the newspaper’s crossword puzzle. Usually we worked in teams of two. When I was in Ghana, I had the same thing every morning: horrible coffee, two fried eggs and toast. The eggs were cooked in peanut oil, and they were the best fried eggs I ever had. If I had a break in classes, I’d walk to my house and have another cup of coffee and sit on the porch to drink it. Breakfast never varied. I had margarine on my toast as butter was imported and not in my budget. I’d sometimes add groundnut paste, the Ghanaian version of thick, thick peanut butter which needed to be mixed with peanut oil to make it spreadable. The Ghanaians used it as a soup base. Those mornings in Ghana were amazing, every single day.

When I started teaching, I got up 5, had two cups of coffee, read as much of the paper as I could, got dressed and left for school at 6:20. On the way to school, I’d stop at Dunkin’ Donuts for a medium coffee. I did that every weekday until I retired.

In retirement I haven’t changed much though now I get up whenever. I feed the cats, fill the water dish, fill the dog’s dry food dish, let the dog out, put the coffee on and get the papers in the driveway. Sometimes I have toast and sometimes I have a bagel but mostly I just have coffee, usually two cups, one with each paper. I take my time reading the papers. I then check my e-mail and finally start writing Coffee.

I think of my mornings as ritual, as almost sacred.

“Every morning you are reborn, and prove it worthwhile.”

August 14, 2014

The White Rabbit and I share the lateness of the hour. My morning has been leisurely. I read both papers and doubt I missed anything happening here or in the greater world. While my English muffin was toasting, I watered the plants. I am such a multi-tasker say I with a bit of tongue in cheek.

Yesterday it poured. I had to shut windows and doors. It was a noisy rain battering the roof and dripping from the eaves. Gracie slept in her crate most of the afternoon. I took a nap, the best thing to do on a rainy afternoon.

Today is another delight. It is in the mid 70’s and will go down to the low 60’s tonight, perfect sleeping weather, and every day for the rest of the week is predicted the same as today though tomorrow night may even get as low as the high 50’s. It feels more like fall than summer especially in the mornings.

Okay, it’s time for a little bit of Ghana here. The trigger was the cool morning, my favorite part of the day in Ghana. Each morning was the same. I’d have my two eggs cooked in groundnut oil as the Ghanaians call it, peanut oil for us, two pieces of toast, wonderful toast from uncut loaves of bread sold from trays balanced on women’s heads, and two huge cups of coffee, bad coffee which I actually got used to drinking. The food was cooked over charcoal on a small round hibachi like burner. The toast was cooked against the hot sides of the burner and needed turning. Boiling the water was first so I could drink my coffee while the rest of my breakfast was cooking. Thomas was my cook. He’d hand me the coffee, and I’d go outside and sit on my porch, no chair, just concrete steps. Little kids would pass me going in both directions. Just outside the front of the school was an elementary school and just beyond the back gate was a middle school. My house was beside that back gate so I could see the students lining up and hear the national anthem before they went into school. The youngest, heading to the elementary school, always stopped to say good morning and stayed a while and stared. A white person in Bolga in those days was still a novelty.

I had a table, a couple of chairs and a refrigerator in my dining area. One whole wall was just screening, no glass, and the floor always got soaked when it rained. Thomas would call me to breakfast. Those were the best tasting eggs I’ve ever had. On my two trips back, I had eggs every morning, and they were as delicious as I remembered. The coffee was still the worst. In forty years breakfast hadn’t changed a bit and mornings were still my favorite part of the Ghanaian day.

“I love to talk about nothing. It’s the only thing I know anything about.”

March 30, 2014

The rain started yesterday afternoon. It rained all night and is still raining. At times the rain is heavy, noisy as it pelts the windows and falls on the roof. I find the noise comforting. It isn’t the silence of falling snow.

I have never liked Jello. Its gelatinous consistency has always been off-putting, even when I was a kid. The worst is Jello with fruit suspended in the jell. For some reason it reminds me of an alien attack and stun guns. Give me chocolate pudding and tapioca any time.

I don’t remember when I first started drinking coffee. I think it’s been a morning ritual the whole of my life. Nothing beats a good, hot cup of coffee, but I’ll even drink bad coffee rather than none at all. Ghana has bad coffee, but I still drank it for two years and two return trips. I always found coffee shops everywhere else in my travels. In Italy I drank cappuccino after dinner. It was my favorite way to end a meal.

I used to wear panty hose, nice shoes and dresses to work every day. I even changed my earrings to match my outfits. This summer will be the tenth anniversary of my retirement. I haven’t worn panty hose in all that time. No event is important enough to warrant panty hose.

I don’t eat tuna salad. When I was growing up, we couldn’t eat meat on Fridays so mostly my mother made tuna fish sandwiches for our lunch boxes. Once in a while it was egg salad but mostly tuna. Even if we got a sub on after pay-day Fridays, it was always tuna. I added pickles, onion and hot pepper to jazz up mine. They only helped a little. I figure during that time I ate enough tuna to last me a lifetime.

I love roast turkey. I buy one every now and then and eat it for about a week. I have it straight from the bird the first few days with all the trappings: mashed potatoes, stuffing, a vegetable or two, cranberry sauce and gravy. I then start having sandwiches with cut turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce. I use mayonnaise to hold it all together. I make turkey salad next and have it for a lunch for a few days. Finally I throw the carcass into a huge pan, boil it for a while, strip it of meat, add veggies and make turkey soup. I freeze some for later. A turkey is forever.

In a bit, Gracie and I will brave the elements to do a couple of errands. Sadly for her, I am forgoing the dump trip because of the rain. She’s asleep and won’t notice.