I am not a coffee drinker. It’s one of the things that makes me stand out in this mountain town with 6 coffee shops in 3 blocks. I love coffee, just not the taste.
My favorite part of working in the grocery store in high school was sweeping the floors. I’d linger a little longer where the coffee beans spilled over the floor. It was my favorite aisle. The coffee aisle.
After chucking stale beer cans across the bottle room where I counted refunds, I’d smell like a weekend drunk on Monday morning. The bottle room stunk so bad you could smell it before you could see it. I learned to hold my nose and breathe through my mouth, a habit that over a decade later, I haven’t gotten over. On rainy days, my new job driving the Cycle Pub smells just like that.
Pushing that giant broom across the white and tan tile floors until I got to the coffee aisle almost made up for the stench of bottle room duties.
The aroma sends me to Grandma Shelby’s house. The one she lived in for so long. With the big basement where she did her paintings and us kids would gather to watch movies. The house where the Christmas tree stood each December decorated in an array of angels, with the best one lit up on the very tip top.
Grandma Shelby’s house always smelled like coffee early in the morning. Walking down the hallway to the kitchen, I could smell it. I’d turn the corner and find her with a cup of coffee and a slice of toast or a biscuit.
I still don’t drink coffee. And Grandma sold that house a number of years ago. The cousins don’t gather for Christmas now that we’re all grown up. But when I’m walking through the grocery store or past a freshly brewed pot of coffee, I remember the smell of early mornings at Grandma Shelby’s.