The Glory of Firsts
Do you ever have one of those moments where you really, really (and I mean really) want to say something but you have just enough composure to listen to the little voice in your head to keep your mouth shut? Yeah, that’s me. There is a story I so want to get off my chest. To just unload the whole stinking mess right here–write my way to a better place about it. But I won’t. Perhaps I will in a few years. (Don’t worry, I’ll still be rolling it around in my consciousness like how you wiggle a loose tooth because it both pains you and torments you.) But for today, I won’t. I’ll resist the temptation and take the higher road and keep it to myself. Yeah, I know. A first for me.
Which got me thinking about some other “firsts” in my life. And one of which I feel pretty okay sharing, here. With you.
Do you remember your first? Was it everything you wanted? Did it warm you or leave you “meh”? Perhaps you were like me and dabbled at it first, but didn’t really cross the line. Or perhaps you, also like me, were hesitant and then tried it and found it to be a little bit unpleasant. And then later, at the perfect moment, you gathered up your courage and tried it again only to find that you actually really, really liked it.
Sometimes I think back to what I consider to be my real “first” and I always smile. Perhaps it was better because it happened in Europe (Italy to be exact). Or perhaps it was better because I was older and wiser and simply more comfortable with myself. Most likely it was because my tastes had changed over the years and I was much more adventuresome. It was probably a combination of all these things–a perfect storm of sorts.
The most important thing is how that first experience changed me. Before not only had I not enjoyed it, but it seemed better to just go without. But after that first time in that beautiful hotel in Italy, not only did I like it, but I craved it.
Everyday, right about when I need to transition back into the role of being a parent to three rambunctious kids, I have to make myself another cup of coffee. Usually it’s an Americano with a bit of half and half and a dash of sugar. And nearly every time, as the steam rises from my cup, I am transported back to the glory of my first cup of good coffee.
It was in a family-run hotel in Monteblanc, Italy. My breakfast option was a hard roll with coffee or a hard roll without coffee. The grandma poured my first cup of good coffee and it was so over-the-top glorious…her beefy hands held two pots. The right was espresso, hot and black and delicious smelling. And the left pot held steamed milk. She poured them in tandem into my cup and wished me well.
And that was that. I was hooked. I realized that coffee could be so much more than the pale Folger’s variety of my youth and early college years. It was a gateway beverage for me, so to speak. And my love affair continues today.
As a writer and parent, my consumption of coffee is probably more than most folks (usually in the fall and winter I add tea or chai to the mix, just because it is so yummy).
I can’t think of a single thing I’ve written without the benefit of coffee. Most likely because I was so bleary eyed I deleted it. I’ve done decaf and it has nearly the same effect – in other words, while I like the caffeine, it’s the process of drinking it that I really need.
Because the process of drinking coffee is probably more helpful for me than the actual caffeine it contains. First thing in the morning, it helps me feel ready for the day. In the afternoon, it is my version of a time-out. At night, it warms my cold hands while typing up whatever story is begging to be told.
And for that, a cup of coffee will always be a pretty glorious thing in my book. And the memory of that first cup of coffee that I really and truly enjoyed? Always puts a smile on my face…almost as if it was much more interesting than simply a good cup of coffee.