It’s my birthday and I’m writing this before sunrise. I don’t know why. I guess, like all aging people, I have changed over the years. I don’t sleep like I used to. Once upon a time I could fall asleep during a pep rally, but now I wake up hours before my neighbor’s deranged rooster, Virgil.
Virgil is a piece of work. He crows at odd hours. And once he starts crowing, he goes all day, no matter how many blunt objects are hurled at him. Virgil is one of those chickens who, when he looks at you with his two crazy eyes, you know he’s only got one oar in the water.
The first thing I do this morning is start the coffee on the stove. Then I listen for Virgil at the back door, but he isn’t up yet.
Thank God for birthday blessings.
To kick off my big day, I play my guitar, quietly, so I won’t wake my wife. The Folgers perks on the stove while I play “After You’ve Gone.” I’ve
been picking a guitar since I was 9 years old, and in all that time I think I’ve actually managed to get worse.
The percolator starts bubbling. I put the guitar down and turn the coffee off.
This porcelain Corningware percolator was a wedding gift from my mother. I remember the day I got it. No sooner had I announced to Mama that I was getting married than she wrapped up her 1950s coffeepot in paper grocery bags and gifted it to me.
“You’ll need coffee if you’re gonna be married,” she said. And I nearly started crying because in that brief moment, before I left her home forever, life seemed so existentially real to me. I can’t explain it.
I pour a steaming cup then walk outside before sunrise.
On my porch I discover that it is colder than brass undergarments out here.…