Viking, Minnesota

Rural Reflections Radio

I found that one of my readers felt last week’s column lacked punch. Too much potato and not enough salt, I guess. Last week’s column came from a mind recently decaffeinated- a fact I could use to excuse a bland effort or better to make an decent introduction for this week’s column. Since I rarely look back with regret or ask forgiveness from anyone except my wife and God, I think I’ll choose the latter.

I decided to quit caffeine during the first day of beet harvest pre-pile. This was an ironic choice as it’s a time when I crave coffee most but also a time when it’s easy to avoid the drink as I’m usually out in the field. I decided to quit caffeine because it makes my stomach upset-mostly due to the volume of coffee I sometimes drink. I’ve also read that it can inhibit your metabolism and leave you dehydrated.

My first day without coffee was not easy. I had a headache all day and really craved the stuff. People denied water and food sometimes suffer delusions. My first day of decaffeination I swear I saw a Central American coffee farmer leading a burro laden with coffee beans at every corner. You see I may be slightly addicted to caffeine but what I really crave is the whole coffee lifestyle. I like the social aspect of coffee, it’s not the same when someone invites you in for a sweet roll with water. I like to place my face over a hot cup and let the steam rise to my face. If I’m tired I can feel the steam make my eyes feel better.

It takes a good mug to serve great coffee. I purchase old coffee mugs with local advertising and use them on a regular basis. Ideally, I take my coffee from old Fire King cup or an old, thick mug like they used to have a better hotels and restaurants years ago. My afternoon snack at times consists of coffee served in a Fire King cup with ginger snap cookies scattered about the saucer. It serves my thirst for caffeine and my hunger for the nostalgia of days past.

I lasted three and a half days without coffee. After a few days it was like old-time feud, me versus the coffee and like many old feuds we both had forgotten why we didn’t like each other anymore. I had proven I could live without coffee but I was missing the little rituals that go with it. Lisa and I were driving around Grand Forks on Sunday and I was yawning my way through the afternoon when Lisa said, “why don’t you just get a small cup.” I thought, “this woman is making good sense.” I bought a small cup and it satisfied me, I guess enough is as good as a feast. I am now measuring my coffee in terms of cups instead of pots and Lisa always buys half decaf. Like most things I needed a little moderation instead of a lot of abstinence.