At 5:30 in the morning, aside from the petulant creatures whining for food and hissing at one another, the house is at its quietest. Once the coffee maker has stopped its machinations and the cats have eaten and gone off to their favorite spots for naps, silence returns. Birds chatter outside the window, the street is deserted except for an occasional dog walker, no phone rings. Even the refrigerator is mute. I savor my first sip of dark, rich Colombian goodness and sit back in my comfy chair. This is my favorite time of day.
Growing up in a large family meant noise, frequent uproar, and a lot of it. Early in the morning darkness, when my father would awaken and go downstairs, I would join him in the kitchen for coffee and a bite of his toast before everyone else awoke. I have loved the taste and aroma of coffee from my earliest recollection, though at that time, I drank it heavily adulterated with large quantities of milk and sugar. I eventually let go of the sugar, but still prefer mine with cream.
Dad was the master breakfast maker in the house, but I have never been a breakfast eater so early in the day. Instead, at that hour, we would just sit and visit, sipping coffee and eating toast. As the second youngest child and the only girl in my large family, I was daddy’s little princess and he was my hero. A tomboy through and through, this little princess was not the sort my mother imagined when I was born. Her hopes for a dainty, sweet little thing in dresses, frilly socks and Mary Jane shoes, playing with dolls and having tea parties were dashed when it soon became clear that I preferred dungarees, bare feet, catching tadpoles, tree climbing and playing baseball to all the fluffy stuff. We never did get along well.
Those quiet mornings with Dad are treasured, vivid snippets of my life and though he’s been gone many years, his spirit is with me each and every day. In these first moments of the silent, early morning, I am able to consider and sort out my thoughts with clarity, approach thorny issues, or just sit back and relish my solitude before the hubub of the day begins.
Happy father’s day. I love you, Dad.