This is why I started drinking iced coffee
|I remember my first encounter with hot coffee. It was a Sunday morning, Mom, Dad, and I were in the kitchen. Mom was washing the breakfast dishes and I was sitting on Dad's lap while he read the Sunday comics. Every few minutes, Dad would stop reading the comics and take a sip from a cup containing a dark black liquid. I wondered what that marvelous smelling liquid was that Dad seemed to enjoy more then the comics. When his cup was empty, Mom filled it from a metal pitcher-like container sitting on the stove.
I reached my small hand out and picked up the cup, The cup was hot, it burned my hand so I dropped it and coffee spilled onto my father's lap. The hot coffee soaked through my nightgown onto my stomach and my bare legs. I screamed! Dad tore the wet nightgown off me, wrapped me in something, and my parents rushed me to the hospital. A person would think that such a traumatic encounter would have stopped me from drinking hot coffee as an adult, but it did not effect me that way.
When my parents and grandparents thought I was old enough to drink coffee, I began drinking hot coffee. At first I put cream and sugar in my coffee, but eventually I graduated to hot black coffee or, on rare occasions, hot cafe mocha. No matter what the season or how high the triple digit temperatures, I drink my coffee hot. That changed at the end of June when I began drinking iced coffee.
At first, I told myself it was because of the summer temperatures in Las Vegas. I tried to convince myself that I put ice in my coffee to help cool me down. I think, subconsciously, I knew it was a lie. I cannot go on lying to myself. I have to admit the truth, that drinking hot coffee holds too many memories of the years my mother and I spent together.
I lived with my mother most of my adult life and then in 2007 I became my mother's caregiver. I cared for Mom until her death on Thursday, November 29, 2012. In all our years together, the one constant was hot black coffee. I can remember, several months after Mom's 2007 bawl resection, sitting on the side of Mom's hospital bed and holding a Styrofoam cup to her lips so that she could drink coffee with her breakfast. Mom recovered from the operation and came home, but she was different.
After 2007, Mom was not the independent woman she was before the operation. I took over the household duties, one of which was to make coffee every morning. Every morning she would have her three cheerful cups of coffee. I was the one making the coffee. I was the one making sure that it remained hot. I make my coffee the same way Mom made it. I used to drink my coffee the same way she drink it, Mom did not like iced coffee. However, hot coffee holds too many memories for me to enjoy it the way Mom and I enjoyed it together.
Every morning, since Mom died, I have drink at least three cups of hot coffee. Every morning, I wanted to cry into my cup. On June 29, the day I started drinking iced coffee, I stopped wanting to cry when I held the cup in my hand or drank the coffee. For seven months, every time I drink coffee I remembered a shared holiday rituals that went along with the coffee. I also remembered other times when hot coffee played a role our shared activities.
On New Year's Day, we would grind whole coffee beans so that we could have fresh ground coffee with our black eyed peas. On Easter, we eat a chocolate Easter bunny while we drink a 100% Colombian blend. On the Fourth of July, we would watch fireworks while drinking a hot cup of coffee. I cannot remember a celebration of any kind that did not include our favorite hot refreshment.
My mother did not begin writing poetry until she turned 82. I remember the first time she read at an open mic poetry reading, she took a sip from her large cup of coffee and then went up to the microphone to read The Rose; the first poem she wrote. After that, her ritual at the open mic readings was always the same. I cannot drink a cup of hot coffee without remembering Mom. Eventually, I will go back to drinking hot coffee without wanting to cry, but until then I will drink iced coffee.