After high school graduation and between college semester breaks, summertime found me working for my dad’s painting company. Truth be told, I did little actual painting. But there were plenty of other tasks to support the real journeymen painters, low skilled tasks that a ‘college kid’ could easily master; scraping, sanding, dusting and hauling, to name a few. I abhorred it.
However, I did get an ‘education’ on hard work and found one task that was simple and perfectly suited to my teenage laziness, the ‘runner’.
When it was mid morning break time, I collected the painters’ money and went for their food and drink, generally coffee and a sweet roll, or donut. The workers’ break was 10 minutes by union rules, but for me, it was a good 30 to 45 minutes, because I was the ‘runner’.
I became familiar with the likes and dislikes of the men on the jobs, and listened attentively to their ‘sage’ advice. Naturally, I ignored it, I was a ‘college kid’.
“Drink coffee, and drink it black, it’ll put hair on your chest!”
Coffee was not part of my regimen, then, and I already had some hair on my chest, at least it was starting, so the suggestion didn’t sway me.
I often heard the same admonition from my ‘old school’ father when I was a kid; “eat it (drink it, take it), it’s good for you, and it’ll put hair on your chest”, my father would urge. Why would a ten year old kid want hair on his chest?
Eventually, I joined the throng of coffee drinkers. It wasn’t the macho world of laboring men who got me started, however. My caffeine fix began with ‘Gussie’, my future mother-in-law, who always had a pot of coffee brewing in her kitchen.
The aroma of percolating coffee, aaahhhh, it was addicting and ‘Gussie’ drank it black.
There’s a certain intoxication in that very aroma, isn’t there? And, if it could only taste as good as it smelled, with no additives, then black would be my choice, as well.
Years later, my sales job reinforced the black option. On the road several days a week, coffee became a staple of my morning routine and a stimulant during day time drive times. Who has time to mix in a creamer or sugar packet when you’re hustling to an appointment? Pull in to the fast food drive-thru, order, pay, then grab ‘n go.
I still drink coffee, black. And, yes, I have hair on my chest. ‘Gussie ‘ is gone for many years, now. And, if your wondering, I never asked…and she never mentioned ‘it’.
To coffee drinkers everywhere…especially, ‘Gussie’