I can't say this event was the first time I had coffee, but it is one that I can still remember vividly. I was about 10 years old and it was a weekday morning.
For some reason or another my Dad had to make his way downtown to City Hall. He asked me if I would like to tag along and I jumped at the chance.
Back then our interactions were mostly sports related.
Either we were playing hockey or watching hockey. Otherwise, not a lot of time together.
We tried golf … but that's getting away from the story.
Off we went downtown to City Hall. On arrival we found that the office he needed to visit was not open yet. So what do we do?
Dad had spied a diner across the street from where we were and that's where we ended up.
Now for some of you this might ring a bell: do you remember those diners back in the 60's and early 70's? Long counters with stools lining them. Tables in the middle area and booths all along the walls. Each booth had its own mini-jukebox player that would play your favourite tune on 45's for 5 cents a song.
We slid into a both.
Up comes the waitress and asks what “would you gentlemen like?”
Dad says, “coffee and some toast” and glanced my way.
“And you sir?” she asked me.
I, to this day have no idea why I said it, but out of my mouth came, “I'll have a coffee too please.”
Now you would have had to see the looks on their faces to appreciate the humour fully.
“Are you sure?” she asked me.
“Yes please,” I said a little less sure of myself.
Dad, now smiling right at me pipes up, “How do you like your coffee?”
“Black.” Now I'm really committed So, the waitress is chuckling and Dad is smiling at me knowing full well that I have 'never' had more than a sip of his coffee (cream and sugar) ever in my young life.
“I guess he takes his coffee black,” he says to the waitress.
She's still chuckling as she heads off.
Dad asks me, “How long have you been drinking coffee?”
“A while now,” I replied. You think I might have figured out that he was now having a little fun with me now. But no, I was full into my ruse that I had no other thoughts other than making it through this with my skin intact.
Our coffee and toast arrive in time to save me from digging too deep of a hole for myself. The waitress still smiling at me puts out the cups, cream, sugar and toasts and pours our coffee.
And she stands there.
Dad goes about his coffee ritual putting in his cream and sugar. I'm starring at the cup thinking to myself, “what the heck am I suppose to do.”
So I reach for it. Pick it up. Take a sip. It's hot. It's black. It tastes like hell. I won't kid anyone by saying otherwise. The look on my face must have been something.
Dad was laughing so hard he was almost in tears. The waitress, still standing there, is laughing … AND … I can hear people over at the counter having a giggle as I'm sure she shared my order with them before returning with it.
After regaining my senses my Dad reached over and said to me, “Here try a little sugar there and maybe a touch of cream.”
“No … no cream Dad. I like it black.” “Well a touch of water will make it better. It's a little strong.” He added some sugar for me and I must have put most of my water from my glass into my cup of coffee before I was done.
I remember the waitress smiling at me saying to enjoy my coffee and giving me a head rub before walking away.
My Dad and I sat and had our coffee and toast. The coffee taste did not get any better as I finished it up. Maybe even a little worse. Dad laughed and smiled at me and let me tough it out.
It's strange, the things you remember about your life. Dad isn't here anymore, but my memories about certain events keep him close to me in ways I never expected. I have a son of my own now. I hope he has memories to keep me near when I'm not here anymore.
Happy Father's Day Dad. I love you. I miss you.
Your son, Guy
Guy is an Alberta resident (and regular on the coffeecrew forums) and like most of us Dad's and could-have-been Dad's - his words resonate with all of us - especially today - on Father's Day 2009.
Win OTTO entry number 10 - from Guy T.