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Dedicated to Lillian Irene Musser Edwards

Gnarled fingers grasping a thick white ceramic mug

Filled with black liquid of which the aroma

Calls you

Begs you to take some time and

Sit.

She had been outside in the morning sun

Capturing the dew on her shoes

Bringing in the aroma of summers’ tomatoes

The fresh scent of living verdure mixed with a

Little brown soil.

I have her all to myself.

We sit and talk

She lets me sip from her mug

My eyes close tight

My face follows suit

Accordingly…

While my tongue wants to expel the bitterness

I swallow and come up quickly

For fresh air

“Gram, how do you drink that?”

No sugar, no cream

She smiled and said

“I just do.”

“Well, I could never do that!”

The day came when morning and coffee

Beckoned me to sit and take time

At the table

With my mom and my first-born child

In the high chair

The mug would warm my hands

As well as the conversation

But my coffee wasn’t black

Cream and two sugars

Thank you

Yum.

My gram went to heaven

I was carrying my fourth child

Her last meal was fed to her

By me

With a few spoonfuls of black coffee

I held her hand and

Kissed her cheek.

I have so many beautiful memories.

Thoughts of her holding that mug

Allow me to feel close to her.

Over the years

Not realizing

I weaned the sugar yet

Poured the cream in

Until it stirred itself.

Again

Unknowingly…

The cream began to

Diminish

I had to stir.

One day, I found myself

Counting the drops

One-two-three

Okay, I can do this.

My next cup of coffee was

Black

Naked

Adorned with only the virtues bestowed

And I loved it!

For years now

I have been drinking coffee

Black

One drawback…

I must wait longer

To sip and enjoy and linger.

It is so worth the wait.

It has been 18 years since my grandmother passed away. Six children. One grandchild. Seven years of drinking coffee black. And it took writing my thoughts down to realize how much I enjoyed watching my grandmother drink her coffee. And how special I felt when she took some time to be with me.

I hope that someday I can offer beautiful memories, and coffee, to my grandchildren.

What traditions or even daily habits do you have that were initiated by someone you hold dear? Maybe you can tell them how they made something so simple, beautiful, for you.

Kimberley Formosa © 2010

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