That First Cup of Coffee

By Keith Gibson 

Most  folks that drink coffee probably cannot remember their first cup of the stuff.  I like to think back thru time, that my first cup was in 1945.

I was 9 years old. I don’t recall being allowed to drink the stuff before that one day.  We kids probably did sneaked sips of it now and then, I am sure.

The day I do remember was the day that my Uncle Carter Anderson came home from Germany at the end of WWII.  He had been gone for a long time and we were all so happy to see him.

To help celebrate the occasion my Dad went down in the basement and unlocked the door to the fruit cellar.  The door was locked to keep us kids out more than anything else.  He had a one pound can of Hill Bros. Coffee hidden there since early 1942 when the stuff was put on the ration list.  It was almost impossible to get real coffee at times. It was mostly chicory or chicory/coffee mix.

I don’t remember much about the taste difference. We kids were hooked on Hersey’s or Nestle’s hot cocoa drinks.

Dad brought up the can and opened it while we all watched.  I still remember how wonderful that first whiff of real coffee smelled. The coffee cans in those days had a T shaped key stuck to the can.  It had a slot in it.  There was a little tab on the side of the can near the top that you bent out and put thru the slot in the key.  Then you wound up the key, which pulled a small narrow band of tin that ran all the way around the can, thus opening it up.  I don’t recall if a regular can opener worked or not.

Then Dad fired up the coal cooking stove and started to percolate some real coffee.  It smelled so good and of course my brother and I whined and begged until we got a small cup.  Uncle Carter gave us kids some things he had picked up in Germany.

I remember some German coins and paper money.  It was a wonderful day and I will always remember that cup of coffee.

Coffee is still my favorite beverage and especially in the morning.  A day is never the same without it.  I like to get up just at dawn and usually drink the better part of a pot by mid-morning.   Nothing smells better than coffee brewing in the morning.  It is even better if you are out in the mountains.

There are studies out every so many months about coffee. The tea makers hire a sturdy that says coffee is not good for you.  A few months later the coffee folks showcase another study showing how good it is. There are some things about coffee that gripe me.  One is that the price was going up and then it stopped rising for a while.  The reason was that the cans were now only 12 ounces, not one pound (16 oz.).  Then it went back up.  Like candy bars and potato chips.  Cut the package size and then raise the price.

Coffee in a café was 5 cents a cup for a lot of years. Times change I guess.