"When dawn spreads its paintbrush on the plain, spilling purple... ," Sons of the Pioneers theme for TV show "Wagon Train." Dawn on the mythic Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto. A curmudgeon artist's musings melding metaphors and journalism, for readers in more than 150 countries.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

No weak coffee, please

Don’t knock our coffee. You may be old and weak yourself some day.”
That printed sign hung on the wall behind the counter of the All Nite Café in Comanche, Oklahoma.
Sign in the home of daughter and son-in-law, Dr.
and Mrs. Todd Bell, he a champion coffee drinker too.
Long before statehood, Rock Island changed trains crews there, and kept the café on Main Street in business. It was owned by ancestors of mine, who first moved to “The Nation” (Indian Nation) from Texas.
My grandfather soon followed his relatives to the little red clay town in south-southwest Oklahoma, located on the still fresh ruts of the Chisholm Trail. He owned a grocery story, sold coffee, and painting houses for a living.
And coffee’s been on the burner and in my genes ever since.
Granddad always drank coffee in the mornings, after he’d put on a white shirt and tie and lit his first Camel.
Dad and Mom drank coffee for as long as I can ever remember. When I was a kid, the Jewel Tea man’s truck used to pull up in front of our house on the outskirts of Fort Worth, and they’d buy strong coffee with chicory from New Orleans. Later, when visitors like my Uncle Mike would come visit, they’d stay up all night talking, having eggs and bacon and coffee well after midnight.
I started drinking it as a teenager. It developed into an addiction during all-night college cram sessions and in working on newspapers at all hours of the day and night.
Now that I’m getting close to being old and weak, I’m trying to cut back—not quit mind you—just limit myself to less than three pots a day—no matter what time of day. That's part of the price of being a journalist. Put out a weekly newspaper like we did at the Waurika News-Democrat, and you have to have coffee all Tuesday night long.
But when I do get old and weak, you can be assured—as the folks who know me will tell you—my coffee won’t ever be old and weak. It’ll be strong, 24 hours a day. And like me, no fancy stuff, or sweetened or weakened with milk. Just straight, thank you.
It's not by accident I like the rap song, "Black Coffee, No Sugar, No Cream," and that we have more coffee mugs than ever needed.
When I die, they wont have to embalm me—my veins will be full of caffeine.
The folks in the All Nite Café in Comanche, Oklahoma,  100 years ago, would understand.


  1. Amen Terry, I drink coffee all day long. At home I put a little honey in it the rest of the day its strong and black. I make my own at work.

    1. Alan, it's just essential, and for folks who've camped out in N.Mexico, getting up in the morning and getting the coffee pot on is first duty. Ooops, there's another article.


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