The Pleasures of Traveling

Do you love to travel? Do you have a long list of the places you plan to visit?

We have had the privilege of traveling to all but ten states in the Country. Unlike many people I read about, I don’t dream of visiting other countries and then saying I’ve travelled. I have loved traveling across the United States.

A few of the career opportunities we have had through the years came with many miles of travel and some very nice accommodations. Probably the best, though, has to be Waikiki. I was conducting a brain-storming session for the sales team at our company. During a lull in the action, I kept writing on the white board until suggestions started again from the group. I wrote “Send Dale and Mary to Hawaii” on the list, and thought nothing more of it. Later, during a dinner trip into town with the team, the owner of the company said to me, “If you’ll visit a few places for me while you’re there, I’ll send you and Mary to Hawaii for a week.” Shocked, I said, “Are you kidding me?” “You suggested it, didn’t you?” he asked. “Yes!” He said, “Done.” We spent a week on the beautiful sands of Oahu and Maui. Amazing. Truly incredible was our introduction to Kona coffee. Oh, wow!!

I always said the best job in the world would be traveling to places and not having to do anything when you get there. I imagine that being a company pilot might be like that, but I’ve come pretty close in recent years. I just enjoy getting out and going places.

With one group we worked for, I was thrilled to pick up a brand new custom luxury van and drive it to Florida from Texas. This was in the 70s, so it was one of those big vans with the cushy seats, paneling, colored lights inside, a fold-down couch, a sink, and a fridge. Oh, and a CB radio! Man, that was living in those days!

On one trip that included flying, I got on board with the boss, he “turned left” (to first-class) and I turned right. I didn’t care, we were flying. On another flight we were both bumped to first class because of a ticketing error. I wasn’t paying, so I didn’t care about that either!

The first long trip in my life was in 1967 when my older brother and I accompanied our grandparents on a cross-country trip on historic Route 66 to California. I wish I had paid more attention to the route and taken lots of pictures. I have been to California many times since, never dreaming at the time I would ever be back. All that is left of Route 66 is stories and old photos.

Now we don’t have to go far to enjoy the trip. It doesn’t have to be someplace new. The drive can include sights we seen many times and we like it just as much. Many good miles don’t include distance.

Where did I leave my coffee?

These Taste Great with Coffee

To real coffee drinkers, coffee is a food group. You know that question about what you would want if you were stranded on an island? There’s only one answer. Coffee.

Coffee alone is wonderful, as long as you have something to munch on. No, really. Coffee, by itself, is amazing. Nothing else is needed. Except M&Ms with peanuts. The hierarchy of needs should be topped by coffee, then M&Ms with peanuts. After that, anything else goes.

Have you ever wondered why coffee is offered in just about every office of any kind, anywhere? It’s because serious-minded people know life functions around coffee. If coffee was removed, life would end as we know it. Nothing would work after coffee.

What to eat with coffee is a question discussed around the world. After M&Ms with peanuts, the next best choice is Dove chocolate. Preferably dark chocolate. The little hearts are just the right amount. Next on the list would have to be nacho chips right out of the bag. Have you noticed that the best nacho chips are in the bottom of the bag where you can reach in and masterfully grab a stack of chip crumbs? Lucious!

Another great companion to coffee is McDonald’s pancakes, no sausage, and extra syrup. The little plastic trays they have are great for eating in the car. I’ve done it many many times, syrup and all. No spills! While I was working on my counseling master’s degree, on weekends for over two years I had pancakes at McDonald’s every Saturday morning, without exception.

Every list of what to eat with coffee has to include no-bake cookies. We were recently introduced to peanut butter no-bakes, which are, essentially, the original no-bakes someone made and forgot the dark chocolate. I don’t know how you forget chocolate, but the resulting cookies were fantastic!

After M&Ms with peanuts and Dove chocolate, can you seriously come up with something better to eat with coffee than Bush’s baked beans? Come on! Really! Doctor them up with a little brown sugar and some barbecue sauce, and you’re sitting on the top rung. Coffee and baked beans. Oh, wow!

Here are a few more suggestions you might want to try with your next cup: Frosted Mini-Wheats, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Ritz Crackers, Mini-Saltene Crackers, carrots, apples, cheese of all kinds, potato salad (without mustard), hot dogs, cold bean salad, potato chips, raw almonds, sliced almonds, baked almonds, cashews, Cocoa-Puffs, and ice cream.

I think I have some M&Ms with peanuts somewhere.

Where’s my coffee?

That Coffee Thing

Have you ever wondered why you love coffee so much? Think about it. Is the taste so good that nothing else compares? Is the aroma of your favorite brew so delightful that pressure and anxiety disappear? Does the sound of coffee pouring into a mug open your imaginary special place? Do pleasant memories flood your thoughts when someone says the word “coffee”?

My first cup of coffee was more like coffee-milk. The little cup held less than a measured half-cup, but I remember it just like I’m holding it now. I talked my mother into sharing and I was immediately hooked. More than a half-century later we still have the canisters that held the ground coffee from which I always asked for a sniff.

I have again discovered the pleasure of perking coffee on our gas stove in an antique glass pot. Coffee creates ambience and the aroma lingers in the kitchen well into late morning. Painfully, I also discovered that glass cook-top stoves do not work well with glass coffee pots. A large bubble under the stem exploded spewing scalding coffee all over my hand. That was about fifteen years ago, so I was happy to find gas works well for old fashioned coffee making.

I really became a serious coffee drinker while my wife and I were dating. She knew how to make great coffee taste even better with just the right amount of cream and sugar. We found over the years that coffee was something we could enjoy in a restaurant cheaply. From the Golden Bear in Kankakee, to the Junction in Dekalb, the Sunrise in Geneseo, to Coco’s in Ft. Worth, all places we hardly had two nickels to rub together, coffee sustained us.

I have to say, though, there really is something spectacular about Kona coffee in Hawaii. Oh my gosh! You can make a meal out of it! Delicious!

I don’t understand people who don’t like coffee. There are people who can’t even stand the smell! There is something wrong with that.

I wonder what kind of coffee Jesus drank. Probably the same kind God drinks. Obviously, it’s not drip coffee because that type is really not that old. Probably one of those brewed by putting grounds right in the water and then boiling it until just the right moment. Things would have been a lot easier if there was a verse that read, “Thou shalt drink Maxwell House.” Starbucks is out of luck, they’re too new.

By the way, Sanka is not coffee. It shouldn’t even be mentioned in a conversation about coffee. Postum really isn’t bad, but it’s not coffee either. Tea is for another post.

Where’s my coffee?