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The first cup is the deepest


Sometimes, it's the little milestones that matter. Today, on a grim February afternoon, after a long day for both of us, the Child and I shared a cup of coffee for the first time.  She has been working her way up to the CrazyStable Elixir of Life for awhile now, sipping fluffy dessert concoctions from Starbucks or Dunkin, but this was her first honest-to-God fresh-brewed cup straight out of the old Melitta pot. Plenty of sugar and half-and-half; she may outgrow that or (like Spouse) maybe not. It matters not; we sat at the big kitchen table, chilled and tired, and the caffeine flowed between us like a happy electric current. Suddenly, she understood...and I exhaled a wish for countless cups in many years to come, a river of mother-daughter java that could heal all wounds and mend all rifts. So far, she is not noticeably jittery; that's my girl.

 A note on the image: Trolling the net for a "vintage coffee" image, I fell in love with this antique postcard, (yours for 10 Euros), since it depicts the approximate age at which I began urging the Child to drink coffee (and offers a good role model for helping grind the whole-bean at a tender age). But "Graine de poilu"? I knew graine meant "seed" from my college French, and figured maybe it meant "coffee bean" that the tot was grinding into "juice for Papa" who was apparently away at the Front. However, a variety of online translation engines produced the following: "Hairy seed"; "seed of the hairy one"; and, my mains-down favorite, "the hairy one granulates." Finally I stumbled on the key to poilu: it's fond slang for a rustic French soldier from about the time of Napolean through World War I.  Presumably graine de poilu is an idiom meaning, approximately, "little shaver de Gomer Pyle," since the term crops up in other quaint-tots-in-uniform shots.  Folks, you cannot buy this kind of cultural literacy.

Posted on Tuesday, February 26, 2008 at 06:05PM by Registered CommenterBrenda from Brooklyn | Comments3 Comments

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Reader Comments (3)

I love the image of you sharing coffee with your daughter. I was a very early coffee enjoy-er (is that a word?) and really look forward to sharing a quiet cup with my own daughter someday. :)
February 26, 2008 at 10:05PM | Unregistered Commenterjm
I agree about coffee being the Elixir of Life. I don't drink that much of it -- in fact, not even every day -- but it makes me unhappy to think that I can't, shouldn't, or won't have the opportunity to drink it. I made a very bad and stupid Lenten sacrifice this year -- yes, it was coffee, and yes, I reneged on it after two weeks. Clearly I need help with my spiritual life! But it's as you say: coffee is more than, Lord help us, a beverage. It's something companionable and fostering of intimacy. That must have been a happy moment for both you and your daughter. May you have many more!
March 15, 2008 at 12:11PM | Unregistered Commenterpentimento
I love "Nopropaso"! It's kind of like "nopropaso the salt, please." Or "I'd like some nopropaso with my veal scaloppine." I really think you're on to something here!
Love ya,
March 31, 2008 at 11:23AM | Unregistered CommenterKaren

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