by Dennis Ensor

12112012_01I love coffee. It doesn’t taste very good, and I only drink about ten cups a year, but I love it, especially the aroma. I know that sounds crazy, but that’s just me.

I decided to make a cupful this evening, which was not easy for this coffee-maker-challenged individual. And, as usual, the results tasted bitter, a fact which always surprises me. It just doesn’t seem like something smelling this good should be tasting that bitter.

To compensate for the unpleasantness, I always add a hefty dose of cream and sugar, as well as a little caramel when it’s available. Not only do these ingredients improve the taste, but they also bring about other changes I like. They transform the stark black color to a creamy warm brown, and they modify the taste-bud-scalding hotness to a delightfully comforting luke-warm.

Though it is rare to find me with coffee in hand, I just felt a need for it tonight. As I mulled over the reason for that need, it came to me that my longing probably had something to do with a little bit of nostalgia–brought on by the loss of a long-time friend–someone  a few years younger than myself. It’s only been two days since I spoke at his memorial service–reflecting on our thirty-five year friendship. Tonight just happened to be the first time, since he died, that I’ve sat still long enough for it to start soaking into my brain.

Losing a friend has a way of making a person stop and reflect. In this case, it’s prompted me to drift back as far as forty and fifty years ago. Back then, Dad’s family got together every August for a family reunion near Lubbock, Texas. The men of the family would sit around drinking coffee and playing forty-two, while the women would visit and flit around the tables and the kitchen.

In my mind’s eye (or should I say “my mind’s nose and ears”), I still get a whiff of that rich aroma as I listen to the clinking and the plunking of the slick marble dominoes being shuffled and played. I can hear the jovial banter and pleasant laughter between Dad and his brothers, cousins and friends. I hear the steady buzz of the crowd noise in the background. What a pleasant and peaceful memory it is.

And so, as I reflect back, I want to give thanks for the blessings that these memories have brought to mind (I never lose sight of the fact that not everyone’s memories have been so pleasant). And I recommit to making sure that these types of sweet, subtle memories are implanted into the precious minds of my grandchildren and the generations ahead.

And now? Oh my! This luke-warm coffee has grown cold. I guess it’s time to get back to work, to push toward making a difference–only this time, with a deeper sense of thanksgiving.

Copyright © 2012, Dennis Ensor, all rights reserved. More from Dennis can be seen at

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