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Monday, December 27, 2010


apples in tophats

The air has been cold and stayed cold. 13 is what the thermometer says now. It's been so cold for so long I'm used to being cold all the time. Inside, the thermometer says 70 degrees, so why am I wearing two long-sleeved tshirts and an insulated outdoor shirt above the waist, and below the waist 2 pair of sweat pants? Inside sweatpants tucked into white socks in shoes. Instead of keeping feet on the floor, I rest the heel of one foot on the floor and rest the other foot over the ankle above the heel on the floor. Feet are less cold when only the heel is touching the floor. Hands are warm. The air indoors is pleasant, but it has a cold chill inside the 70 degrees. It's the chill I'm dressed for. Without this outer insulated shirt I'd be too cold.

This morning I stayed in bed until after 11. Too cold to get up. Finally, I couldn't sleep any more and forced my way up. I was so cold, continuously, I decided to get out of the house and drive to town, have the day's Kenyan coffee at Selma's. Talked with Carole on the phone a bit, felt flat like the surface of a lake with no ripples, didn't talk long. I dressed up for an expedition into the snow, ice and cold. Went out and started the car, scraped ice off front and back windows. Just before the snow I rubbed vinegar on the windows, having heard it keeps ice from freezing onto the glass. That prophecy didn't bear out. The ice took extensive scraping. But the windshield was clean when it thawed from the inside.

Heading out for town, the Catfish drove on the packed snow and ice with no problem. Up on Air Bellows Gap Road, a white pickup passed going the other way. Two guys inside were looking at me with eyes that said, you'll never make it. I knew the drift they were thinking about. Their look told me to be prepared. I figured their truck got through it, so I can too. They left packed tracks in the snow I could ride through. Plus, they shaved it down to the height of the truck's undercarriage. When I saw it, I didn't question making it. It would take my 35 years experience driving this road where this particular spot drifts every drifting snow. I stepped on the gas aiming to plow my way through. About half way into it, guessing it 20 feet from side to side, the front end started sliding, indicating I was losing traction. Didn't dare stop, so I pushed the gas a little bit, caught traction and walked right on through the last third of the stretch. It wasn't a surprise when I came out the other end, but it did feel jubilant. Front wheel drive.

I surmised that would be the last obstacle between home and town. The road down the mountain was snow packed into ice where the tire treads went. Inside the car was warm, what I was really after, driving the car in coat and outfitted for 0 degrees or below, running the heat. Driving over the hill in Whitehead at Elvira Crouse's house, the other side is subject to weather quite different from the Whitehead side of the hill. The road was clear going into the blind curve to the right, but I kept speed down anticipating ice. There it was. Quite a good stretch of ice the sun doesn't touch. A bad place to lose control. Ran through Thompson Flat at a fairly good rate trying to blow the pile of snow off the hood. It made the surface drift onto the windshield where it melted instantly and wipers pushed it aside. A good day to take trash to the dump, figuring nobody would be there. Didn't see anybody.

It felt good in the car where it was uniformly warm. I took yesterday's netflix movie to the big blue box at the post office, dropped off a prescription bottle at Halsey's driveby, parked in front of the courthouse and strolled across hwy 21 to Selma's open sign. Two people were there when I went in, and before very long half a dozen more came in. Very different kinds of people are discovering her coffee. When Selma started getting my coffee going, she suggested I try Hawaiian. In my mind's eye I saw beach, Honolulu condos. Couldn't imagine there was any place left of Hawaii to grow anything; volcanos and condos everywhere.It sounded interesting, but I'd been anticipating Kenyan all morning. If I hadn't been looking forward to the Kenyan, Hawaiian would do. Maybe next time I'll go with trying the Hawaiian in mind. I knew if I drank something besides Kenyan today I would not have been satisfied. Next time or next next time.

Selma said something to me about trying something new, a new experience. It appeals to me to try something new, but this morning I was programmed for Kenyan. Could have had it at home, but needed to get out of the cold house. I believe it's in my horoscope that once I find something I like, I stick with it. The first taste of Kenyan coffee made me a believer. I've not wanted to drink any coffee but Kenyan since. It's not like a set determination, but that I love the flavor more than any other coffee. I told Selma once, it's honey to my palate, and that's as close to what I meant than any other likeness. I don't know coffee parlance, so must be satisfied with saying it simply pleases me like no other. Ethiopian is close, but not It. Kenyan is It. Since I've started drinking Kenyan, I've had coffee at the Circle L and other people's houses, grocery store coffee that comes from South America. I appreciate it as good enough, will do. A taste of Kenyan after a period of drinking South American coffee, I enjoy it all the more. I don't mean to imply the Latin coffees are bad. All the flavors from various parts of the world are good.

Kenyan coffee seems to my palate to have a clarity like no other. The Ethiopian and Indian I've tried are subtle variations on the Kenyan theme, only slightly different. Tasting them helps me appreciate Kenyan all the more. A few weeks ago I ran out of Kenyan and took a third of a bag of 4 o'clock coffee out of the freezer where I'd put it when the Kenyan came into the house. I was curious to see how it would stand up, considering it's been opened quite awhile, plus a period of time in the freezer. It wasn't bad. But it also wasn't It by a mile. The new bag of Kenyan, freshly roasted, told it. Upon first taste I asked myself, Why did you let it run out? At the time, it had to do with money. My morning quota is gone too soon every day. I could drink it all day and into the night every day for the satisfaction in its flavor. There is something about its flavor I find as satisfying as the taste of really good white liquor made from rye.


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