Yesterday was my birthday. It was a time for reflection for me, but nothing earth shattering or particularly apocalyptic in nature. I think about my life and place in this world a lot more than once a year. Yesterday was just the first day I did it, aged 36. No, yesterday wasn’t so much about my birthday as it was about having a cup of coffee with my father.
He’s been gone from this world for almost ten years now, but death is hardly something to stop a coffee date. You see, I inherited this coffee cup from my father when he passed. It’s a Burlington Northern coffee cup, with the words, “Safety in ’88” on one side and “Yellowstone Division” on the other. In between the two, it has the BN logo emblazoned in gold lettering, all of it set on a blue colored mug. When I’m holding it, the mug has a solid, comfortable heft to it. It is a good cup for coffee…
Perhaps the most consistent image of my father when I was growing up was him sitting at the kitchen table with a cup of coffee in his hand. Whether it was at his house, over at our grandma’s, at one of our relatives, or visiting my brother and I at our Mom’s, Dad always sat down and drank a cup of coffee. Cream and sugar, never black. He’d sit there at the table, talking with us boys and sip that cup of coffee. By the end of the day, it was a guarantee that there would be coffee stains on his shirt, almost like a measuring stick of how much coffee he’d had that day. As I got older, I’d have a cup with him, and we would sit and talk about whatever we had going on that day. Those times became our way of bonding. Anytime we wanted to spend time together, we just turned to each other and said, “Want to go downtown and have a cup of coffee?”
So, yesterday, I sat down with that cup of fresh brewed coffee, thought about life at age 36 and told my dad everything that’s been going on for the past year. He didn’t say much, he never does anymore, but we drank our cup, enjoyed my birthday morning, and, like my father before me, at the end of they day, I had a coffee stain or two on my shirt, too.