mom, do you remember...

i took my mom out for a breakfast muffin today.

i ordered a caramel cappuccino to go with my muffin because it sounded like a lovely combination...
mom ordered water, because, she said;  i already drank my limit of coffee today.

wait!? there is a coffee limit?!? good god! is the city rationing coffee for tourist season?!? man i'm glad i already had that cup at home and that cup at uncle lar's before we got here!

unamused she busied herself with the menu while i amused myself by remembering my childhood...

in particularly the day - just after coffee had more than tripped in price and my parents seriously were rationing it - that my young in a hurry to get outside bottom bumped a freshly opened 3 pound can of Hills Brothers Coffee off the counter. .....

trying to catch it was my first mistake.

there i stood with the lid, which i caught between two fingers and my thumb, watching the can bounce off my bare feet sending it into a dramatic roll which scattered very aromatic grounds all over the kitchen.  after which the nearly emptied can rolled down the entry steps and came to rest against a dirty pair of shoes on a sand covered floor.

i held my breath. i didn't dare even blink. in fact, the only muscle that moved - against my wishes - was the one in my head, which shifted into overdrive. can i reach the broom?  i wonder...  if i can reach the broom maybe i can scoop it all back into the can and no one will be the wiser. yes. yes! that really could work.  now, where was the broom?!?

i looked up to locate it but met the fiery eyes of my mother. she just stood there in the dining room doorway, curlers in her hair, tight scarf over those and arms folded so tightly in front that it bulged the pack cigarettes rolled in her left sleeve as if it were one huge muscle mass...

fear caused me to continue holding my breath as she unfolded her arms and snuffed her half smoked cigarette out on the stove top - the tattoo of satan on her bicep leered at me.

involuntarily i shivered. i had no defense whatsoever. i couldn't lie when i was covered in the stuff.  she'd never have believed me anyway... Trouble now snickered behind me, his fault pointing finger burning a very deep hole in the middle of my back.

"sorry..."  i muttered through tears, more to myself than anybody else. after which there was nothing but that agonizing you know your punishment awaits silence. 

finally, my mother stepped toward me - her tattooed arm outstretched in the self same way that always caused Trouble to back into the corner while assuming the grade school tornado drill position...

i felt her hand on the lid. i swallowed hard imagining the horrific ways in which i was about to lose the limb still clutched tightly to the plastic lid and wondered if by some act of god i would still be allowed to keep the other limb.

a thousand and twelve death scenarios later she gently pried the lid from my hand and told Trouble to get the the broom. 

"it's only coffee." she said; "and we send it through a filter anyway. so, as long as you and Trouble keep your big mouths shut, your dad will never know.  now, get your bleeding toes off my floor and find yourself a bandage...." 

thankfully, the can had cut the top of my toe when it hit and blood had, for some strange reason, always softened her heart.

i couldn't have planned that better myself! i thought as i watched her filter the last dustpan full of grounds back into the can.

and, to this day, i would swear her satan tattoo winked at me as she snapped the new and improved vacuum seal lid back on the can....

the waitress brought out a magnificent tall clear glass of cappuccino topped with whipping cream and sat it under my nose snapping me back to reality...

"hey mom? do you remember me spilling that can of coffee grounds all over the kitchen floor?"

"no. but i do remember you making kool-aide with my expensive kosher canning salt..."

and from somewhere in my past i heard Trouble and my mom's satan tattoo start laughing right out loud.


  1. Just when you think you have them figured out and predictable...

  2. exactly. life, as they say, is full of surprises!

  3. Anonymous8/09/2011

    I remember Mom being so mad at Brother for something that she threw a book, which broke a window, and we had to get in the car to go get a new pane. Brother was always in trouble, and I was always trying not to laugh.