According to pbs.org, “Coffee plants reached the new world during the early 18th century though the drink wasn't really popular in America until the Boston tea party of 1773 when making the switch from tea to coffee became something of a patriotic duty.”
According to Wikipedia, the history of coffee dates back to the 15th century and can be traced to the Sufi monasteries of Yemen. It soon spread to Mecca. And by the 16th century its fragrant aroma reached the rest of the Middle East, and traveled as far as South India, Persia, Turkey and the Horn of Africa. The beans I enjoy each morning come from around the world, but they are then roasted in rural Michigan before they are mailed to me in California.
Barb lives in a small, rural town of Spencer, Iowa. She is a retired Speech Language Pathologist who has worked in the state since receiving her master’s degree from Northeastern University in Boston (where for some strange reason are in love with Dunkin Donuts coffee.). I found it interesting that while we are waiting to learn who will be our next president, one of the candidates had a speech issue. And that someone like Barb helped him overcome his stuttering.
We never know who the people we help will become someday. Case in point, the first student Barb worked with was a young girl whose speech was difficult to understand. Together they worked hard and did not give up until the child was able to overcome the challenges and learn to speak clearly. Today, that girl is returning the favor as a speech pathologist as well.
According to Johns Hopkins University website, coffee is more than just a way to get your caffeine fix. It also contains antioxidants and other active substances that may reduce internal inflammation and protect against disease.
Recent studies found that coffee drinkers are less likely to die from some of the leading causes of death in women like coronary heart disease, stroke, diabetes and kidney disease. It also does something to decrease breakage in certain DNA strands.
Barb has a great heart that she was willing to share with me. When I asked her who was her favorite Muppet (because we all have to have one) her smile lit up. “Professor Honeydew and Beeker” were the first to come to mind. This was just one of many other things we had in common; like both having cried while watching The Muppet Movie, and both agreeing Kermit the Frog today just isn’t the same without the voice of Jim Henson.
She is more than a coffee drinking-retiree-mother-grandmother-friend of a friend. She is more than someone who shares my Scottish-Canadian roots and love of the Muppets and Sesame Street. She is a kind and gentle soul I could have coffee with every morning. She was easy to talk to and just get lost in the conversation.
When I asked her what she’d like the world to know about her, it didn’t surprise me to hear her say, “I’m a good friend. I try to be kind and treat people the way I want to be treated. I love my family.”
According to Diane Vizthum, a nutritional researcher, “What you add to your coffee can make a difference in how healthy the beverage really is.” She suggests skipping the sugar and adding naturally sweet spices and flavorings like cardamom or cinnamon.
I don’t know what kind of bean Barb was using. I don’t know if it was caffeinated or decaffeinated. I can’t recall if she added milk or half-in-half. But I do know a little more about her. By adding her to my morning cup, certainly added to the health and well-being of my soul.
“Life is fragile. Be kind.” That was her advice. Simple, yet profound. The very wisdom that fits so perfectly at home on the side of one's favorite coffee mug.
An ex-copywriter turned punk rock pastor and peacemaker who dedicates his life to making the world a better place for all humanity.
"that they all might be one" ~John 17:21
“Prius vita quam doctrina.”
~ St. Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274)
* “Life is more important than doctrine.”