I am sitting in my writing room, sipping a hot cup of coffee; windows wide open to the sound of rain finding its way through the trees, fat with summer’s leaves. The smell of earth and wet dog laying beside me. I feel cozy and contemplative.
From the book-
Mom loved her coffee and put on a pot every morning for most of sixty-plus years. As a kid I remember waking on Saturday mornings to the “blurp, blurp” sound of the perk. Or maybe I just imagine I heard it, since it conjures a comfortable portrait of family life and the smell of bacon.
The kitchen was her domain, where she was most comfortable. Our childhood kitchen had showy yellow and green flowered wallpaper she hung herself. The floor was cracked and corner-curled linoleum, though when new, we kids were made to tip-toe in our stocking feet for weeks.
What I miss most about that kitchen is the large pantry full of all the food I never let my own children eat – Lucky Charms, Yankee Doodles (my favorite, because there were three in a package, not just two, like Twinkies), Wonder Bread. It was my chore to clean it once a month. I loved doing so, finishing off half-open packages of treats lost in the back.
What my mother loved best about that long-ago kitchen was the window over the sink. She told me once there were only two things she insisted on when the house was being built – a laundry room and a window over the sink. I would have asked for built-in bookshelves and a writing room, maybe space for an herb garden, but a window over the kitchen sink is a good idea too.
Growing up, we ate our meals at the kitchen table. It was sturdy wood and deeply marked by children and use, with two extensions we never removed and three chairs that did not match. It stood in the middle of (you got it) the kitchen, taking up most of the floor space. This meant in addition to eating, the table was used as work area for baking, rolling out the ravioli, for homework, drawing, coloring and of course, kibitzing over ‘coffee-and’.
I don’t think my mother came up with the term ‘coffee-and’, but she always said it as one word, “Go outside and play. Alma is coming over for some coffee-and.” This meant coffee and conversation, coffee and cake, coffee and a cannoli or whatever else was in the pantry. Back then, a neighbor was always coming over or she was heading their way. Her other favorite expression was, “I only have time for half a cup of coffee.” Never a whole cup – always half, always busy.
And I sit here now, gazing out the window at this rainy day. Refilled my coffee and the dog is snoring. All is good…