Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Holiday Rush

I don't have to tell you this. But it's busy this time of year.

On the one hand, it's busier than it ought to be--you know, just enough to make complaining seem to be the natural order of things: if only the mall wasn't so crowded and there were more parking spaces available and where is all this traffic coming from any way? Don't people have to work any more?

On the other hand, aren't we all just a little glad everything is so hectic? It means people have a little money (or a little plastic) in the pockets for a change. It means store inventory is moving--maybe not as fast or as much as shop-keepers would like, but still.

Spirits are lifted and people seemed a bit lighter on their feet as they move from one spot to the next. Maybe it's the weather. Cool and crisp isn't so casual. It's button up, pay attention, get what you need and move on. The livin' ain't easy in winter.

Then, again, maybe it's the coffee that's putting the spring in our step. Ah, kaffe! What would we do without it? Why, it's almost critical enough to want to say a little prayer for just the right amount of corporate wisdom at Starbuck's to keep any more stores from closing--unless your preference these days has shifted to Mickey D's, that is.

Well if it is the coffee, here's a little something to linger over as you savor your morning mug. Enjoy....

Ahhh! Café, Kaffe, Coffee
By Bill Kirk

To paraphrase the bard,
Would coffee by any other name
Taste, you know, like coffee?
Why, how could the question even be asked?
From the devout, there can be only one reply:
“Yes, a thousand times, yes!”

For proof, just consider the choices
In origins, types, flavors and roasts,
Not to mention all the little extras on the side—
And the methods of preparation.

Why, there’s café, café au lait, café latte,
Capucino, espresso, java and joe.
Get it for “here” or get it to go.
As for types, what’s you pleasure?
“High test”, half-caf, or de-caf?
Columbian, Kona, Mountain Grown (isn’t it all?),
Roasted dark, medium or light?
Then there’s Irish Cream, Vanilla Nut,
Macadamia and Chocolate.

As for additives, don’t get me started.
Well, OK. You don’t have to get me started.
I’m already there.
I mean, what’s not to like about all those sprinkles
From chocolate to cinnamon to nutmeg.

Not to mention the milk.
You got your non-fat, half and half, whole
And even whipped cream
For the decadent souls among us.
And did someone ask for non-dairy creamers?
What flavor would you like?
Sweeteners alone will boggle the mind,
From real to fake, from raw to refined.

Of course, it goes without saying
Coffee is actually meant to be experienced—
Not just consumed.
And there’s no more need to confirm (as in olden times)
That the last drop is as good as the first.

As a sign of largesse, I’ve even heard said
It’s polite to leave a tad in the bottom of one’s
Heat shield protected carry out cup,
That is, unless one is a "somebody" who has
Invested in a designer mug
From one’s favorite coffee emporium.
To demonstrate one’s oneness with the earth.

By the way, I saw Black Pearl Coffee the other day—
Thought it was tea at first but it was coffee all right.
There it was, a bit exotic and aloof, if you ask me,
Just sitting right there on the counter
Next to an urn of brazen Amaretto.

It took me aback for a moment
Until I got my bearings and found my usual.
Mind you, I ain’t sayin’ what that is--

Don’t want to be labeled, you know....

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