Coffee and Me
The truth is that coffee caused one of the most jarring disappointments of my life.
Lovington, New Mexico: During the late '70s/early '80s, we lived in this little southeast N.M. town. Wasn't much there. When I was in 6th grade, we got a Dairy Queen, and you would have thought the Pope had moved to town. Anyway, on the way out of town towards Hobbs, on the left side of the highway, between the vet and the farm and ranch supply place, was the Pioneer Steakhouse. Because my parents ate there the night before I was born, the Pioneer and I go way back. I didn't love the Pioneer for the steaks (a vegetarian in the making even then,) it was the salad bar that kept me coming back. On the salad bar was a huge hunk of cheese with one of those cheese knives so you could cut off your own slice, and next to that was a steaming vat of beef broth. That beef broth was rich, warm, yummy, and the best thing to put in your stomach on those cold, windy, New Mexico nights. And it looked just like coffee.
"That must be what coffee tastes like," I thought.
Years went by and we moved to Beaumont, Texas, when I was in junior high. One day my dad was having coffee and he asked if I wanted to taste it. Remembering that dreamy beef broth of my childhood, I eagerly jumped at the chance. Imagine my surprise when that bitter taste hit my mouth. It almost tasted like hot liquid dirt. "Never again," I said, handing my dad's cup back to him.
And I didn't. Not until my thirties, when I found a way to make coffee not taste like coffee.
So now I've made peace with coffee. And I wonder if the Pioneer Steakhouse is still open. And I realize how disturbing it is that the Pioneer was right next door to the vet who cared for all the local livestock. Hmmm...