Monday, November 19, 2018

Coffee ~ my column from Sunday's paper

Jilda and I had a minor crisis in our lives this past week. Our coffee maker died. It was a slow, tragic death. I should have seen it coming, but I neglected the telltale signs of tepid coffee and an unexplained leak. Then last Thursday, it spewed and gurgled one last time. That’s when the Watson household went into crisis mode.

My Army training kicked in. Situation analysis: Jilda will be awake soon, and if there is no coffee, there could be bloodshed. She is even-tempered 99 percent of the time, but those numbers drop dramatically on mornings when she hasn’t had caffeine. 

I riffled through the back of our pantry for the old glass coffee press that we use when the power goes off. Blowing the dust off, I washed that baby off and fired up the kettle on the stove. Soon we had two steaming cups of java on the coffee table – crisis averted.

Then came the search for a new coffee maker. Most people would have gone to Walmart and bought a cheap coffee maker to solve the problem. But “we ain’t most people.”

Jilda said we have to get the right coffee maker. She’d just read about a journalist who interviewed the musician, Tom Petty. I Googled the story. It didn’t take long to realize that Petty was into coffee too. During the interview, Petty talked about his music and life on the road. But the conversation took a turn, and Petty talked about his love of coffee. When he was a young starving artist in Gainesville, Florida, he would go to a diner for coffee. This was when he couldn’t afford a piece of pie to go with his coffee. That experience of sitting for hours in that diner with his fingers around a hot cup of coffee was an experience that stayed with him throughout his life. 

Later in Petty’s career, he could afford exotic coffee from anywhere on the planet and the best coffee maker ever made. He bought two Bunn Coffee Makers because he never wanted to wait for a fresh cup. We also thought it interesting that Petty’s choice of coffee was Maxwell House. After reading the article, I looked at Jilda and said, “We need a Bunn.” 

Doing some research, we decided on a BX Velocity Brew 10-Cup Home Brewer. I used my mad-money that I made from writing this column and purchased one online.

Even though the UPS man brought the box late in the afternoon, we felt compelled to have a cup of coffee. Who needs sleep?

I rarely read instructions, but I wanted to make sure the Bunn was set up right. It took about 30 torturous minutes to complete all the steps. 

Once we were satisfied the coffee maker was ready to go, I meticulously measured the right amount of java for two mugs of coffee. 

I closed my eyes. The aroma of coffee soon drifted from the kitchen. Through the years, we’ve belonged to expensive coffee clubs and tasted coffee from around the world. I’m not sure any of those coffees were better than our first cup from the new Bunn coffee maker. I’m glad we took Tom Petty’s advice.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Evening sun

Today has been beautiful here. It's long-sleeve weather, but it's perfect for walking. This morning we did an abbreviated stroll because we were eating lunch with Jilda's sister.

Her kids, their kids, and their kids were there. It was a madhouse. I gave Parker, who is in the fourth grade this year, a joke book for kids last Christmas. Now every time I see him, he tells me jokes. Today he was on vampires. I learned that the favorite building in the world for vampires is the Vampire State Building :)

I was stuffed when I waddled out of her sister's house. When we got home, we both decided a Sunday nap was in order.

Once up, we were refreshed and decided to finish our walk. The sun was lurking near the horizon but it still felt great outside.

The evening sun shining through the autumn leaves was stunning. I snapped the picture below at the barn.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Not a bad job

I was on call at the paper today. There were only two assignments – an open house for a new Tractor Supply and a car show.

As I read the assignment, I smiled and thought of my blog buddy Jack over at Shiplog. If it's possible to love old cars more than me, then I think the award would go to Jack. Almost all of his posts start off with a vintage car.

Today, as I strolled through the parking lot, I saw some new cars that were very nice. I saw an old VW Beetle that a young woman is restoring, and I saw cars that made me drool. 

My favorite ones are cars from the 50s and 60s. That was when American car manufacturers were at their peak for designing and building beautiful cars.

As I packed up my camera and headed into the office to upload the pictures, I thought – hey, this is not a bad job.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Family history

I saw dozens of photo ops the last two days. Yesterday afternoon as we drove south to our gig, the late afternoon sun joined together with the autumn foliage to make a kaleidoscope of color. We were in rush-hour traffic and drivers behind me would have taken a dim view of me holding up traffic to snap a few frames.

This morning, we had to make a run to COSTCO to stock up on Thanksgiving stuff. More pictures glided by as we took mental snapshots through the windshield.

One of the things we bought was a fresh turkey. It has to stay cold so we rushed home and tossed the bird into the fridge. After slamming down a couple of grill cheese sandwiches, we headed to the school to watch our great nephew Jordan be inducted into the fifth-grade Honor Society.

So tonight, I don't really have pictures from today. Scavaging through my archives, I came across another picture that I took years ago. It's Jilda and me along with her brother and his family. The little girl in front of me in the photograph is my niece Samantha who is pushing 30.

Our friend Kaye snapped the picture of us standing at the edge of the water at the Gulf of Mexico. You can tell a great deal about family histories by looking at old pictures.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Turkey's a comin'

We had a gig tonight and just got home. It's WAAAAAY past my bedtime. I looked through November pictures from seven years ago. I came across pumpkins, gords, and some other stuff I cannot name.

The picture reminded me that Thanksgiving is a week from tonight. Let that sink in for a moment.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

This time of year

It was misting rain when we walked this morning. A chilling wind came out of the north. We didn't wear rain jackets, but I was glad I'd worn my thermal tee shirt.

The color in the hollow beside the barn road was muted, but I kept looking at the ever-changing patterns of the fallen leaves on the path. Each step was another piece of art.

I snapped a picture, but a camera doesn't do justice.

I love this time of year.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018


I came across a funny picture from my archives. I was looking through November of 2012. That was the year I published my book Life Happens. I came up with several marketing ideas. Some were bad and others were just slightly better. 

What can I say? I have a twisted mind.

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