Coffee Breath: What It’s Good For ©

Sweet remembrances with coffee by Travis Burchart

coffeeI love coffee!  I drink boatloads of coffee – literally, I fill a canoe with gallons of Sumatra and guzzle it down.  Of course, my over indulgence comes with a price.  My teeth are stained the yellow of fall leaves.  I don’t sleep well, which leads to another side effect – infomercial addiction at 2:00 in the morning.  My blood pressure isn’t just high – it’s altitudinal.  And, of course, my mouth gives off a rather “Starbuckish” stench.

Stench or not, there is a positive to coffee breath.  You might ask: What possible positive could come from having the potent breath of Colombian coffee farmer, Juan Valdez?   I might answer: In this curse of the coffee – this breath of the Java dragon – therein lies a memory.

When I was in middle school, the bus stop was no more than a five-minute walk from my house.  However, every morning, my father offered to drive me to the bus stop on his way to work.  Every morning – a one-minute drive to save me a five-minute walk.  But in this one-minute drive – a single minute amongst 1440 other minutes each day – I strengthened my bond with my father.  It meant something to me that he wanted to drive me, and it meant something to him to drive.  Not the type of man to openly say “I love you,” this was his way of verbalizing how he felt.

And, of course, he had strong coffee breath.

coffeeSo for one minute each day, I experienced both my father’s affection and the remnants of his morning Folgers.  I remember it all vividly – the wine colored interior of his Bonneville, the fog of my breath if the car was too cold, the stop sign where he pulled to the curb and told me to have a great day.  And it’s all held together by the smell of his breath.

It’s definitely not a Hallmark Card –  “I remember your breath. Happy Father’s Day” –  but more often than not, it’s the little things that help us to remember.  Halitosis may be the bane of dentists everywhere, but for some, it’s good for recalling the moments that are important.

photo by mdid & shinazy

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7 Responses to Coffee Breath: What It’s Good For ©

  1. We each have a scent that stirs our memory. This story is about the whiff of coffee. What aroma jogs yours? Enjoy!

  2. Oh that was beautiful. Coming from a family of strong coffee drinkers, I could relate to your memory. One of my memories, that’s not as personal, is we weren’t “aloud” to drink anything but BLACK coffee!! Now days for a dessert coffee treat I get the whole sugary, cream filled coffee drink and I can see my mothers’ face……in a true frown. She never would have understood that choice.
    Thanks Travis for jaring my memories of my childhood.

    • Travis Burchart

      Bobbi – I can’t help but smile a little at your use of the adjective “beautiful” in relation to my blog about “coffee breath.” But, I guess, therein lies the point – that even the oddest of things can carry beauty in our memories. May I ask why you weren’t allowed to drink anything but black coffee? I’m very curious to know if it had to do with calories or quality or something completely different.

  3. From CG.
    i share the coffee/drive connection with my dad too! driving was the one thing he loved to do for all of us. – “c’mon i’ll give you a ride” he’d always say. he also faithfully drove my mother to and from work for i don’t know how many years. i guess i take after him, when i had a car i chauffeured my kids everywhere. it was often the only place to get one on one time with one of the 4. <3

    • Travis Burchart

      CG – My dad still drives when we ride together. It’s an unwritten rule that he takes the wheel. He and I attend football games at our alma mater, which is about an hour from our houses. He drives every trip, and I wouldn’t want it any other way. I could drive, but there’s something about those Saturday rides that quietly reaffirms his status as my father.

  4. Adina Alexander

    Sorry I’m so late in reacting. I’m way behind in my work (aren’t we all?) I too have ‘coffee-memories’ but my time with my Dad was not regular – so I had to enjoy it when I could. By the way, why “aloud” and not “allowed”?

    • Travis Burchart

      Adina – To me, time is less about regularity and more about quality. And quality can exist in the little things, things that we can hold on to and never let go. Now that I’m a father, I try to flip the scenario – what little things will my kids carry forward? When my daughter asks to play Barbie or my son asks me to critique his writing, I jump at the opportunity. It might not be coffee breath, but I hope these small moments stick as big treasures … those unremarkable acts that will forever live in their memory.