The earliest credible evidence of coffee-drinking appeared in Yemen in Southern Arabia in the middle of the 15th Century, but for me it was across the road at Grandma’s kitchen table in the middle of the 20th Century.
Grandma, like my dad, brewed and drank coffee all day long. Dad would not let me drink coffee when I was kid because he said it would stunt my growth. Grandma, on the other hand, would always pour me a cup if I wanted one. I felt so grown up.
She would set a half a cup of coffee in front of me then slide the sugar dish and spoon next to my cup. Then she would fetch a pint of Half & Half from the refrigerator. After three or four tablespoons of sugar and a couple ounces of cream, the cup was full and tolerable to drink. We will visit over a cup of coffee, grandma would say, and she would tell me stories about the Wars, the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl and her experiences teaching in a one room school.
At that time Grandma was close to the age I am now and looking back to when we were visiting over a cup of coffee, I see that I have it pretty good compared to her and her stories of a family trying to survive.
I had several sugar filled cups of coffee with grandma that summer and when school started the following fall I was very disappointed when the school nurse said I didn’t grow a single inch from the year before, not one inch. My father was right, coffee stunted my growth and grandma abetted. When I told grandma drinking her coffee made me a runt she giggled and said, “It isn’t the coffee, silly boy, it’s all that sugar you put in it.” I never added sugar to another cup of coffee after that and by golly I grew two inches the next year.
I wish I’d visited with grandma more over a cup of coffee and I wish I would have asked her more questions, because the more you know about your grandparents the more you will know about yourself.
Coffee’s for Kids, especially at grandpa and grandma’s house.
Rick Friday is a farmer (from Union County, Iowa), cartoonist, and writer published worldwide with a weekly and monthly print circulation of 193,000. He’s also a Union County Supervisor.
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My Grandma Leora favored Postum!