I was raised by a church lady. My mother was a woman who lived on coffee and the Bible. And you could find her each morning, on the sofa, before work, holding both.
“Go upstairs and shower,” she’d say when she saw me walking downstairs in the mornings. Then, she’d take a sip and go back to reading.
And I would take a shower because you always do what a church lady tells you. Always.
My mother gave me my first taste of coffee when I was a 5-year-old. I was over the moon. She couldn't have picked a worse beverage to give a hyperactive child who could not sit still through an entire episode of Gilligan’s Island.
I was so grateful to her, coffee was an adult pleasure that seemed illicit somehow.
My mother always made her coffee the same way. She used a Corningware percolator on a stovetop, like church ladies have been doing since Adam and Eve attended the first Billy Graham crusade. When her coffee was ready, it
would be hot enough to rip the flesh from the roof of your mouth and scald your liver.
That first morning, she gave me half a cup. It steamed. It smelled beautiful.
“How do you want it?” she asked.
“In a cup, please.”
“No, how do you take your coffee?”
“No, sweetie, I mean what do you want in your coffee?”
“I don’t know.”
“Let's make it pretty.”
“That just means extra cream and extra sugar.”
Soon, my cup sat before me, fixed pretty. It was the color beige.
My mother grinned and said, “This is kinda nice, I don't ever have anyone to sit and drink coffee with. Your father doesn’t drink coffee, he drinks Coke instead.”
And that’s the story of how I became my mother’s drinking buddy.