The next morning is a good day. I feel like it’s a present–for both of us.
She’s up at at ’em at 8 a.m.–suprisingly late for her–still in her PJ’s, still swaggering, but in very good spirits. This time, I get to help her with the morning rituals–the sames ones I’ve been watching her perform for years and years.
Rituals are pretty important to Gam. Get up, feed the cat, make her Kava.
Fifteen years ago, her Dr. took her off coffee. (‘That dirty rotten man! Who does he think he is taking away my coffee? He’s not the one who has to drink this stuff!“)
Kava is a sort of acid-reduced coffee substitute–ironically made by the same people who sell mince meat in convenient 6-packs. It’s disgusting.
But she drinks it anyway–every single morning. She fills a mug with water, dumps in a spoonful of dehydrated nastiness, stirs it up, and zaps it in the microwave for 1 minute and 45 seconds exactly. (I know this because I’ve gotten it wrong many times and let’s just say you don’t mess with the woman’s Kava.)
So she carries it to the table with a big spoon and a tub of Coffeemate Hazelnut creamer. She dumps, she stirs; she squashes the clumps of slimy powder up against the side of the mug until its smooth. Then she takes a deep breath (always dramatic) lifts a spoonful to her lips and sips.
“Bleh!” Her whole face whips to the side like a kid on brussels sprouts. “This is awful. This stuff tastes like battery acid!”
Another spoonful of Coffeemate. De-clumps. Stirs. Sips.
“Oh, help us Jesus. This stuff will kill you.”
More Coffeemate. Same drill.
“Oh Jenny, this is the most awful stuff.”
I almost ask why she drinks it, but as a fellow coffee addict I know that the morning rituals are important. Even if they’re just placeholders.
So instead, I ask about the first thing she wants to do when she gets to Heaven.
She smiles big. “I’ll rejoice with Jesus,” she says. “And I’ll dance!” (She shows me how.) “And I’ll shout!” (She does that too.) “And I’ll ask myself, ‘self, how did I get here? I didn’t deserve this’!”
I suggest that maybe after the dancing, she should sit down and have a real cup of coffee.
Her eyes get big. “Heeeyyy….now that’s what I call a good idea!”