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A CUP OF COFFEE

April 3, 2016

When we have a leisurely day Clare and I enjoy the early morning pleasure of sipping a cup of coffee on our back porch. My wife is a coffee connoisseur.

Coffee isn’t for everyone, however. It can cause insomnia, anxiety, and an irregular heartbeat in some people. Specialty coffee drinks can be high in calories.

Clare and I were thrilled to discover an article entitled “Ten Hidden Health Secrets of Coffee,” written several years ago by Dan Fields on Beliefnet.com. If you are an avid coffee drinker, you will be pleased to hear the numerous health benefits listed in the article.

  • People who drink three cups of coffee a day are less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease in their later years. The caffeine in coffee may reduce production of the beta-amyloidal deposits which form in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients.
  • The antioxidant in coffee may help prevent several types of cancer including colon cancer, liver cancer, kidney cancer, and oral cancers.
  • Drinking coffee lowers the possibility of developing type-2 diabetes in people at high risk for the disease. Antioxidants, minerals, and caffeine help keep diabetes at bay by improving glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity.
  • Consuming coffee an hour before a vigorous workout may help prevent pain while exercising and reduce post-workout pain. The caffeine helps block the activity of a chemical called adenosine, which activates pain receptors.
  • Drinking coffee provides protection against gout. Coffee consumption may lower blood levels of uric acid, a substance linked to gout.
  • Coffee drinkers have lower odds of dying from heart disease. The antioxidants in coffee have heart-healthy benefits, including improving blood vessel function, reducing inflammation, and protecting bad cholesterol from oxidation.
  • Coffee helps to keep memory sharp. Folks who drink more than three cups of coffee a day experience fewer declines over time on memory tests than those who drink one cup or less a day.
  • Coffee lowers the risk of Parkinson’s disease. The caffeine in coffee may help defend against Parkinson’s by boosting levels of the brain chemical dopamine.
  • Caffeine discourages gallstone formation by triggering gallbladder contractions and increasing the flow of bile.
  • Coffee reduces the risk of kidney stones simply by increasing urine output.
  • Folks who drink four or more cups of coffee a day have a lower risk of stroke. As with heart disease, the antioxidants in coffee may offer protection by improving blood vessel function.

My grandfather, whom I called Pappy, enjoyed a cup of coffee with every meal. When Pappy traveled he always carried a jar of instant coffee with him. In every restaurant, he ordered coffee with his meal. When the dark brew was served, Pappy took his own personal jar of instant coffee from his pocket and heaped two teaspoons full into the steaming liquid.

As Pappy stirred the mixture, a waitress would often ask, “Honey, you don’t like my coffee?”

He responded, “I just don’t want to have to drink all that water to get a real good strong cup of coffee.”

Pappy had another ritual connected with his coffee drinking.  He usually poured the coffee from the cup into the saucer, blew on it a little to cool the drink, and then sipped it noisily from the saucer. My grandmother never thought this was a proper practice, certainly not in polite society. Generally speaking, Pappy only did this at his home or if Mammy was not with him at a restaurant. I can’t remember the last time I saw anyone drinking their coffee from the saucer.

I recall a poem about drinking from the saucer written by John Paul Moore. I am not sure who Mr. Moore was, but this sounds like it could have been written by Pappy or, for that matter, by a retired pastor.

My Cup Has Overflowed

I’ve never made a fortune, and it’s probably too late now.

But I don’t worry about that much, I’m happy anyhow

And as I go along life’s way,

I’m reaping better than I sowed.

I’m drinking from my saucer,

‘Cause my cup has overflowed.

 

Haven’t got a lot of riches,

and sometimes the going’s tough

But I’ve got loving ones all around me,

and that makes me rich enough.

I thank God for his blessings,

and the mercies He’s bestowed.

I’m drinking from my saucer,

‘Cause my cup has overflowed.

 

I remember times when things went wrong,

My faith wore somewhat thin.

But all at once the dark clouds broke,

and the sun peeped through again.

So Lord, help me not to gripe,

about the tough rows I have hoed.

I’m drinking from my saucer,

‘Cause my cup has overflowed.

 

If God gives me strength and courage,

When the way grows steep and rough.

I’ll not ask for other blessings,

I’m already blessed enough.

 

And may I never be too busy,

to help others bear their loads.

Then I’ll keep drinking from my saucer,

‘Cause my cup has overflowed.

 

I have many fond memories of the pleasant enjoyment of coffee. Even as I write these words, Clare has placed a fresh cup of the soothing elixir at my left hand.

Whether sitting in a big oak rocking chair watching the sun rise over the Atlantic, perched on the tailgate of my pickup taking in a sunset over the Blue Ridge, or working at my computer, a cup of coffee doubles the pleasure.

Besides, coffee is good for body and soul.

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