On this page will appear past examples of my weekly newspaper column,
"At the end of the Line with Ed Kelemen."
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Originally Published March 20, 2009
"Coffee With Dad "
Is there anything more satisfying that that first cup of coffee in the morning? Likewise, is there anything as nasty as that last cup of coffee at the bottom of the pot?
There is nothing that I want more than a piping hot cup of coffee as soon as possible after I wake up. The aroma of brewing hot coffee wafting through the first floor at 6AM is a blessing from nature. I enjoy it with a bit of non-dairy creamer while I set out the morning food for the menagerie. I'd like to think that I'm a purist in that I don't use sugar. Truth be known, I just don't like the flavor with sugar.
It usually take three cups to get my heart fully started and beating without any hesitations and backfires. This goes back to my childhood when I would feel like a grown-up at the kitchen table drinking coffee with my dad. The difference was that, when I was a kid, the coffee was about half milk and half sugar with a bit of coffee in it. As the years went by, I used less sugar and milk, even drinking it black while I was in the Navy and for 10 or 15 years afterwards.
But, it was those early years that meant so much to me. In cold weather, we'd look out the kitchen window and share complaints about the season. During the other three season, we'd take our cups outside and sit on chairs in the backyard.
We weren't much into philosophizing, but I benefited from Dad's years of experience on the planet during those daybreak soirées. And,I have tried to pass on some of that knowledge to my sons as well.
Things like: “Ed, there is only one rule that you have to get down pat in life: Until you get married, Mom is always right. That is rule #1. Anytime that you find out that Mom is wrong, just refer back to rule #1. When you get married, your wife replaces Mom in Rule #1.” Now that is the best advice I have ever received from anyone. It has saved me untold grief. Some of my progeny are still having problems with that one, with the expected detrimental results. But, they'll learn.
Another bit of wisdom from that great man: “Don't worry about anything. I mean anything. If you have done your best and things still look like they're going down the toilet, forget it. Just remember, it is God's job to take care of you. If you knew what was on his mind, you wouldn't need God, you'd be God. So- worry is just a lack of faith in God.” Now, I haven't been 100% successful at applying this one. However, whenever I have been able to use it, my life has been a lot less stressful.
Yep, I learned a lot over those early morning cups. About things like respect, responsibility, manners, patriotism, love, family, and faith.
Maybe that's why I so look forward to the early cup of coffee and dread the final cup: it's not the coffee I need, it's Dad's wisdom. Some mornings I can feel him walking alongside me as I lift that brew to my lips. That's when life is good.