When I posted this early morning photo on Facebook last fall, my brother reportedly commented (in wry, paleontologist humor, no doubt): "Look, she's built a coffee shrine."
In my defense, I'd argue that the photo was meant to highlight the little patch of fall color in the window-- a view I love, complete with hummingbird feeder. But my big brother is admittedly a coffee-hound and recognizes his own kind as readily as he can identify a dinosaur bone fragment. Which he may indeed use as a coffee stirrer.
I love coffee. I love the way the grounds smell on my fingers after I add 8 scoops to the basket of our Cuisinart at bedtime. And I especially love the gurgle-whoosh of the coffee maker in the morning, the rich aroma of my favorite brew wafting through the house in cozy, dark, pre-dawn hours. On deadline, sometimes I'm up before the hummingbirds.
Coffee has made an appearance in all of my books. In fact, it was almost a character in Disaster Status.
Those of you who've read this second Mercy Hospital book, may remember a quirky ocean view coffee shop called "Arlo's Bait & Moor." Here's a snippet of a scene set there:
“Hey, Annie,” Erin began casually, inhaling the rich scent of coffee and what she’d bet were fresh-baked lemon bars. “How’s it—?”
“Well, would you look at this?” The gray-haired proprietress set down a pair of needle-nose pliers, and a grin lit her sun-weathered face. “My Sea Dog black and my Starfish Latte extra cinnamon. Together.” She swept aside several pieces of sea glass and driftwood, then planted her palms on the counter, sighing as if the planets had finally aligned. “Praise God, it’s about time.”
“About time?” Scott asked.
“That you two met, of course.” Annie nodded and her earrings, blue glass and silver beads, swayed back and forth. “I told Arlo it makes no sense; you battling that cold ocean like a tortured soul every morning. All alone. And you, Erin. How many summers have you been coming here with your grandmother? And your grandfather, may he rest in peace. I’ll never forget that Labor Day weekend Iris was sewing your Wonder Woman costume. You paraded down here in your bathing suit twirling a gold lasso, with that crown sitting lopsided over your pigtails and all those ‘magic’ bracelets. Skinned knees, no front teeth, and knee-high to a grasshopper. But you doubled up your little fist and told us you were ready to fight.”
Scott chuckled low in his throat. “Trust me, Annie. She’s still fighting.”
***The only issue I seem to have with coffee is the caffeine. In the past year or so, we've gone from full-jolt, to half-caff, and now to de-caf. Here's why:
Yup, my heart perking along at 220 this past Thanksgiving. Nearly swooned into my mashed potatoes--talk about drama! Paramedics in the house, fire truck outside, wide-eyed grand children. Apparently this medical fiction author will stop at nothing for research. And, fortunately, it all turned out just fine. Still . . .
Though caffeine didn't directly cause the excitement, I see no sense in flirting with this scenario again. So this is my "coffee shrine" update:
Hazelnut Decaf, unsweetened Almond Milk. I still get the pre-dawn gurgle and whoosh, the wafting of lovely aroma. Warm cup, great taste. But no side order of firefighters, paramedics and the ER team--I prefer that those good folks stay in the pages of my fiction.
Not that I'm always good: I recently met an aspiring author at Peet's coffee. She graciously offered to treat me, recommending the Blueberry Mocha. I ordered it decaf, with soy milk. Then the server raised his brows: "You want to top that with whipped cream?"
Sometimes you gotta walk on the wild side.
So, your turn. What's your favorite brew? Coffee, tea? At home or at a coffeehouse? What do you add to it? Do you have a favorite mug, special spot to sit and savor? Do share!
** An author feature, review and giveaway of DISASTER PLAN may be found at Linda Maendel's wonderful blog. Visit her here: Hutt-Write Voice. **