Actually a Kind of Serious Post

Today, I visited my father in the hospital, where he has been for the past three days, on account of he woke up Friday morning at 3 and couldn't breathe. It's walking pneumonia, they said, and so he's been sitting in a mechanically-adjustable bed watching Patton over and over again on American Movie Classics.

The first thing he said to me when I got there was "The coffee here's not bad."

Pa Paw

My father and I don't see much of each other: once a year, maybe, and more often than not several go by without meeting my dad face-to-face. We talk on the phone just about every other week, and we are fond of each other in that funny kind way that two people who have an emotional canyon between them can be fond of each other. Which we do. And we are.

Coffee is the very first thing to bring us together since I was eight years old and his best little buddy. It's the first thing about which we can have a conversation since I was small enough to have to stand on a chair in order to help knead the dough for the loaves of bread we would bake together every Sunday afternoon.

"Did you get that article I cut out for you about those coffeeshops?" Yes, I replied. My brother had given it to me in the car on the way over. Best in Joe, a piece in the NY Post (2/7/2007) that seemed to be more about regular ol' local drip coffee, rather than the specialty stuff. Nonetheless.

"How's the coffee business?" he asked, and I can answer readily and easily, to his amusement. When I produced the bag of Vienna roast I'd brought him, he held it in his hands like it was something precious, smoothing out the creases from where it had been in my messenger bag. He asked me questions about Barrington Coffee, our beans and its roast.

My dad's no coffee expert; He, like most Jersey natives, is as content with a cup from Wawa as he is one hand-crafted by his own little coffee-crazed daughter. But it's because of him that I got bitten by this bug; I was always allowed a cup of my own on those years-ago Sunday mornings together, sweet and loaded up with cream, to sip while discussing the day's bread recipe.

I was eight when I started drinking this stuff, at my dad's house, asking questions about the machine, the filters, the beans, anything I could think of. We're still taking about coffee, all this time later, even in a hospital room in the shadow of George C. Scott going on and on and freaking on.

Patton's really long; We hadn't even gotten to the invasion of Normandy before I started wishing I had taken them up on that offer of hospital coffee. Hopefully it will be the last time for a long time I will be in a hospital long enough to actually accept a cup.

My dad's fine, by the way; He goes home tomorrow, and back to work on Thursday. I'll drink to that.

Another Go At It