Thursday, January 15, 2015

A third cup...

The interenet is a strange place, and
eBay is stranger - someone is actually
selling the very tins I used to buy.
As I entered my teens, I discovered loose tea. It was something totally outside of my experience, which was limited to Lipton and Red Rose tea bags (which was pretty much all that was available in those days - at least where I lived). I found little sampler tins, which had been imported form England, in a shop on the boardwalk of Ocean City, New Jersey, and I was immediately hooked. Every trip anywhere outside of my hometown was an excuse to look for Twinnings or other imports. In my late teens (the late 1960's) I helped run a counterculture coffeehouse in Ocean City during the summers. I think it was 1969 when we moved into a building which had a luncheonette on the ground floor. There was a good old fashioned service counter, with lovely Bunn coffee burners and round glass pots. That was when I converted to coffee, mostly being a Maxwell House kind of guy. I even had a coffee mug with a Maxwell House label on it.

When I took a little studio apartment in Greenwich Village in 1975, I discovered that a short walk took me to a small storefront run by two guys who loved mixing different coffee beans of various roasts. Their Viennese mix quickly became a favorite.  For Christmas one year, my father and stepmother gave me a coffee grinder. They did not think studio apartment size. It was kind of huge for its purpose, and ugly; it had a large hopper into which over a pound of beans could easily fit. I loved it and did my best to keep it filled. I used to use a glass Pyrex percolator to  make my coffee. I had also acquired an electronic percolator, but it left a slight metallic aftertaste, thus the Pyrex. Within a year or so, I converted to using the drip method of making my brew. Melita cones and filters became my friends.

After moving to Boston in the late 1980's, I became a regular at a place called Coffee Connection. They had a Melita electronic drip coffeemaker for sale which used a cone shaped basket, not a flat one (which doesn't concentrate the water through the grounds properly). It made four cups, which in my parlance meant two mugs. Of course I purchased one.  I usually made two mugfulls in the morning, and to be honest, I can't remember for sure when that habit started. But ever since, my mornings have included two mugs of drip coffee. Over the years, coffee beans got too expensive to have much in the afternoon or with dinner. If I don't get any coffee at all, I don't have withdrawal, no headaches or anything like that. I'm much more likely to get a headache from drinking too much coffee.


As coffee got even more expensive, I began reusing the grounds from the morning  (with a little freshener of fresh ground added) for a late afternoon or early evening cup. (I've always been able to drink coffee and then go to sleep.)

Last week there was a morning when I just didn't want to get going, get in gear, start doing things, etc. My mental process felt cloudy. I made a third morning cup for the first time in years. Every day since I have found that I needed that third cup. I've no idea why this has happened. I don't particularly object, except for the cost. But I find it odd that a habit that I can trace back at least 30 years has suddenly changed.

 So what does this mean, if anything? Heck, I don't know. What I do know is that it's Thursday already, which means I'm losing track of the days again. The last time that really happened, I was running the radio station. And now it's 'deja-vu all over again', as Yogi Berra used to say. The problems of the station constantly interrupt whatever I'm doing and take up way too much time. I'm currently trying to marshal and co-ordinate our various forces for a badly needed on-air fundraising week.

And, I note that I haven't yet posted my show from last Saturday. With two exceptions, everything played in that show was from the radio, or could be heard on the jukebox, in January 1946. The war had been over for about 5 months, and our men and women overseas were returning home daily. It was a huge undertaking. Many would remain behind as occupying forces. The wartime movement of people to war work in the factories had produced a housing shortage which was, by then, acute. Brattleboro was purchasing homes from land cleared for an airport being built in another state and moving them here. Quonset huts were soon to go up as housing.

There were a number of strikes as workers and their unions tried to deal with inflation and the creation of a postwar economy. The strike of the moment involved telephone operators. The minimum wage had gone up three months before to 40 cents an hour for a work week of about 44 hours before there would be any overtime. 

There are many more such newspaper clippings and notes posted most week days on my show's Facebook page (click the link to visit my show's page).

So, while you have a cuppa' , here's last Saturday's show as background music:

As always, I hope anyone kind enough to listen enjoys the show.