Thinking of my dad today; this little story from 2010:
lake in the morning shone like polished glass. Looking around, the sun was peeking through the trees, shooting rays of light through the ground fog. Above, the clouds were changing colors like a slow moving kaleidoscope. Taking a deep breath of that full fresh mountain air, I knew this was one of the best sunrises ever witnessed.
Disturbing the symphony of the bird’s charming mating calls; my boots seemed so noisy and rude…
*crunch* *crunch* *crunch*
…walking out of the cabin and down to the car on the gravel driveway. The noise seemed so out of tune with the rest of the events I knew I’d have to compensate later with a quiet book reading in the chair on the covered porch that faced the lake. What a fantastic punishment. Taking the keys out of my flannel jacket was like a symbol clashing, but I was committed to reach the trunk and retrieve the items their in.
The key turned and inside the trunk to my surprise were kittens! Fifty happy furry little kittens. “Oh my goodness! How did you sillies get in here? I told you to stay home.” The kittens over took me and soon all fifty-one of us were on the ground playing and purring up a storm. Could this morning get any better?
And then I smelt it. The most beautiful smell in the world. Emanating from the cabin was this incredible ambrosia-like smell of coffee. The best coffee in the world. The smell of warmth and love drew me, seduced me, and called to me like a siren to a sailor. Someone is up and is making coffee, I thought, oh the fragrance from heaven!
My eyes opened to focus on my bedroom ceiling, the beam and a ceiling fan staring back. It was all just a dream, just a wonderful dream. But, a quick inventory of sorts made me realize part of it wasn’t a dream. Coffee?! I quickly looked over at the clock. It was 4 o’clock in the morning, why did my house smell like wonderful coffee. My mom was staying over that week and I’m telling you she is a true fan of that java mixture of champions. Before her arrival I had purchased plenty of beans and cream to help make her feel welcomed. The coffee pot in the kitchen was set up, and timer ready to go on at six. Hmmm… let’s go take a look-see.
Using my toes as radar I crossed our dark living room, weaving around some furniture but walking a straight a line as possible in the quickest fashion towards the kitchen. Locating the coffee pot with ease thanks to a night light I discovered that the coffee pot was NOT on. “Interesting.” Oh well, back to bed. Moving in the opposite direction that I had just arrived to that corner of the house, I found the warmth and comfort of my bed and quickly went back to my trunk full of kittens by the lake.
The next morning, in real life, the family found themselves gathering around the kitchen table making morning small talk. Without going into too much detail for fear of seeming strange I causally mentioned that I woke up in the middle of the night to the smell of coffee and thought the coffee pot had started brewing two hours early.
“That’s interesting Shannon,” my mom said, “I did the same thing.”
With a quick chuckle, my husband, said, “You know that IS funny. I got up and checked the coffee also.”
“Wow, I wish I had a cup of what I smelled last night. It was the best coffee ever. Our neighbor works the night shift I bet it came over from their house, or something.”
This was my mom’s second visit to Arizona so we had a nice agenda of places to see and visit while she was in town. Summer was just around the corner and the perfect time to be in the desert. Not too many Washingtonians can handle the 105 degree weather that the summer brings; it takes a while to get acclimated. Prolong exposure to the heat also destroys the webbing between the digits, a real pain to grow them back.
It had been over a year since her first visit, but I had recently seen her at dad’s funeral in February. In 2005 my father John had passed away, after struggling with lung disease. Dad had a wry sense of humor and a cutting wit that could catch people off guard. On family road trips he would alert the family “Looks like we’re close to Coffee Mountain.” Why dad? “Because we just passed a sign that said “Doughnut Pass”. Groooaannnn! “Dad!” He’d sit up there behind the steering wheel and chuckle at his own joke. He was a real character, is greatly missed and long remembered.
After lunch mom and I found a sunny spot in the front of the house and started to chat some time away while we waited for the kids to come home from school. Drinking coffee of course. Stopping myself in mid sip I raised my hand to my eyes to keep them from popping out of my head. Behind my mom, through the window and mingling among the Oleanders was the most beautiful Pheasant I had ever seen. We had lived in that neighborhood for over three years; the most exotic birds were flocks of grey doves’ coo, coo, cooing in the yard all day. “Mom, there’s a pheasant in the yard!” We went outside and watched as this laid back fowl just took a Sunday stroll around the corner and down the street, never to be seen again.
“Mom, I think that was dad.” Mom’s eyes stared at me; over the rim of her glasses with the look only mom’s have the power to give. “No I’m serious. The coffee smell and that bird- I think it’s dad saying Hi.”
Since that “visit” the coffee ghost continues to come by, at random moments, in the middle of the night, waking us from our dreams. I no longer race to the kitchen to check the dysfunction of a kitchen appliance, now I just roll over in the warm bed and smile.