I recently bought some coffee that, by mistake, was un-ground, and so now I find myself every morning grinding the beans for my coffee – and for as long as I live, this will remind me of my friend, Steve Novick’s mom, Becky.
My freshman year of college at the University of Oregon, Steve and I became friends. A mutual friend actually owned a car, and occasionally Steve would remain after the end of the school day in order to socialize with us – which meant we had to find a way to get him back home to Cottage Grove.
Steve lived in Cottage Grove with his mom, dad, and two younger brothers. Times were lean at Steve’s house, and yet every time we returned him home safely, Becky would offer us a cup of coffee for the road back to Eugene. She had a preferred ritual around the coffee. They had an old-fashioned coffee grinder, and Becky’s idea was that a certain number of beans, and a certain number of turns of the handle, produced the best cup of coffee. Steve would carefully count the specified number of beans into the top of the grinder and turn the handle. The aroma of coffee spread into the small kitchen as the grinder broke open the beans, and permeated it further when hot water hit the ground beans sitting in their single-cup Melitta filter.
Coffee was still a luxury to me during those years. Becky’s hospitality captivated me. The things I deemed as precious were difficult for me to be open-handed with, and yet Becky wanted to share some precious coffee with Steve’s friends before we had to leave again. I very much enjoy thinking of her as I noisily grind my morning coffee.