When Mary and I got together in 2004 one of the traditions we developed was Morning Coffee. Each and every day, including weekends, I’ll make coffee, now in the Cuisinart stainless Grind-and-Brew we got for our wedding reception in June 2005, and take it to her in bed. We’ll have this coffee while watching the fine folks at the morning news show on 13abc, and on weekends, GMA Weekend. Frankly, when we miss Morning Coffee, as does sometimes happen, the rest of the day simply doesn’t feel right, and when I am able to take care of it the next morning, it’s even better.
For countless years, Mary’s dad has gone to the tiny dining area in the front of the Meijer store on Alexis Rd. in north Toledo to have coffee and small-talk with his friends. There, they would sit and chat for hours about anything and everything, enjoying the bottomless cups of coffee provided by the store.
John hasn’t gone to Morning Coffee at Meijer for at least a few months. Few of you know this … Chef Tad, Sandy, and Joey do … but John has been diagnosed with lung cancer. Not wanting treatment, he has accepted arrangements for hospice at home. Part of the reason Mary rarely comments in here anymore is that she spends a huge amount at her dad’s house assisting with his care.
Yesterday morning, John had his morning coffee at Meijer for the first time in months. I made coffee for Mary and I at home, loaded the Cuisinart thermal carafe and our travel mugs into the car, and drove the mile to John’s house. There, I woke Mary up on the living room sofa next to the La-Z-Boy John basically lives in. There, she and I quietly had our traditional morning coffee before John woke up.
Later in the morning we grabbed an O2 tank, loaded John into his van, and drove him to Meijer. He only had water as he can’t stand coffee any longer. But between Meijer greeter Bill, and John’s “girlfriends” Helen and Pat in the dining area, John was happy, laughing, joking and flirting as we hadn’t seen in some time. We only stayed for a short while, maybe 45 minutes, Mary and I at another table but nearby, while John spent time with his friends. When he felt he was getting tired, we took him away, with him grabbing another couple friends on the way out for a short chat. After we got him home, he slept.
Mary feels her dad had to do this, as though it was something he had to check off a list of things he must do. She also feels it was his last time at Morning Coffee at Meijer.
Somewhat sad, yes. And for John, somewhat satisfying as well. It’s all in how you look at it.
And at the same time, this small happening only makes Morning Coffee with Mary that much more important a tradition to keep.