Walking past RabbitFoot Records on Second Street between Palmetto and Sanford Avenues in sleepy downtown Sanford, Florida, I am reminded that I’ve had but one infusion of coffee this year, and it was at this delightfully rustic newish location for this iconic slapdashery. The great java is about half the price of more toney inclines – along our 11-by-4 miles Lake Monroe – is about the same in selection, for me: Americano, and has pastries as well as a large slab of bare-brick wallspace devoted to LPs. You know, the kind of plastic thingee you put on a record player and from which sounds come out? Yep. That kind of place, where patrons chat between sips of internet and slathers of sludge and cinnamon buns and such.
But back to my attraction to this perversion. Coffee and I go way back. At nineteen years of age, freshly minted a U. S. Marine and duly trained in infantry skills, I reported to the Joint Public Affairs, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina (what a moniker, fraught with possibilities!) office whereupon my arrival found this major tossing a football up and down in his pleasure to pet pigskin. I made the universal hands-before-face, thumbs inward signlanguage for “Throw Me The Ball!” And so he did. About 30 feet in distance. I caught cleanly and returned serve. He grinned and we volleyed (I know, rally is the correct term, but this is my keyboard so keep quiet!). Just after the third or fourth pair a door midway between us opened and a staff sergeant’s head and shoulders emerged.
“You Richards,” he gruffed. “Go make coffee!”
“How, Sergeant, do you ‘make’ coffee,” I innocented in reply.
“You’re Richards?” the major asked, and I assented with nary a ‘yessir’ but a nod and a return pass. He grinned. “You don’t drink coffee?”
“Nosir,” I chimed. “Only once before and that was to hide the bourbon,” Major.
“Well, Staff Sergeant: if Richards does not drink coffee he does not make coffee,” My New Hero intoned. That’s why this slick-sleeved private has – and still does – a fondness for combat-wounded and limited-duty Majors who haunt hallways awaiting a game of catch.
In the few intervening years I’ve probably had one-hundred cups of coffee, most with lubricant decanted from a brownishly filled bottle added, vice sugar or cream. I mean, why does any one want to sweeten or lighten a designed bitter potion? Then, I happened upon Irish Coffee. So I had to modify my stance. I sipped maybe two dozen such shamrocked brews and found each palatable, even with sugar and whipped cream. See. I am adaptable.
So, as I sauntered past RabbitFoot with fond recall over last Summer’s sippage to break my maidenhead at this shop – it had been a good six months since last I sipped the mud on The St. Johns River outpost of such caffeinated delight, I was due. Still am. I walked on by. But I did make a mental blaze on the tree that is me to make real sure to get two cups of joe at this joint real soon now. Or at least one – gotta be careful with my choice of drugs donchaknow? Could get a reputation.