dreadfulpenny: (COFFEE)
[personal profile] dreadfulpenny
Nearly two years ago, Spouse and I landed in Virginia. I was coming home; Spouse was leaving his. We were starting fresh as a couple. Texas had become toxic for both of us for different reasons. It was time to try something different.

We were living at my father's old house. It had been vacant for years. The roof needed to be replaced. One of the bathrooms was a mildewed mess that was slowing dissolving into softened floorboards and a blackened shower. We had boxes everywhere.

I had accidentally abandoned my coffeemaker in Texas. It wasn't anything special; it was the sort that didn't use a glass carafe. You brewed the coffee and then dispensed it by pressing a button and letting it pour into your cup. I didn't realize that I didn't have it until the last minute. By then I decided to just figure it out when we arrived in VA. What I did instead: stumble over a French press that Spouse had purchased years before and decide to learn how to use that instead. I didn't have any coffee at hand that first week. The coffee was in a box with other non-perishable staples. I had no idea which one.

The town where my father's house happened to be is a small one. There's a paper mill that is keeping the place alive. There's a Wal*Mart that has nearly successfully driven almost all other business out of town. Not much else. Main Street is a ghost town of store fronts, a bank, the Police department, the city jail, the Post Office and a church. People still live there. Impossibly, Food Lion still exists in this Wal*Mart town. Spouse and I decided to do most of our food shopping at the Lion instead of the Mart.

One morning, not long after our arrival, I was wandering around Food Lion, un-caffeinated and still slightly shell shocked. The trip from TX had been strenuous. I was in the frozen food section. There was a wire rack near the end of the aisle that was, for some reason, stocked with coffee. Not just any coffee, though. THIS was Moon Pie coffee, in two varieties. I picked up one of each, without a single hesitation. Moon Pies are one of those things that signal home and childhood. I remember my mother popping one into the microwave when I was much younger. As a child I didn't understand the idea of regional treats and just how vast the world was compared to my own small view. I didn't know that other people didn't know about Moon Pies until I moved to Florida as a young adult. A coworker from Massachusetts had no idea what one was; when I attempted to find one for her, I had no luck.

Finding Moon Pie flavored coffee during my first month "home" in Virginia felt symbolic. It was almost a sign from God. You have done well, child. Now, take the holy coffee as a sign of my approval.

Time flew by, as it does. I live in my own house now. I still have boxes everywhere, even after over a year in this house. I know where my kitchen things are. I have an entire cabinet devoted to coffees and teas. My "coffee cellar" is vast and varied. This morning I chose one of those bags of Moon Pie coffee*. The vanilla variety. Both the vanilla and chocolate varieties do taste remarkably like the dessert for which they are named. I opened the bag and took a sniff. That first week in my father's old house came rushing back to me: the lush green smell of TREES and grass that was planted before I was born, of the warm humidity of summer in the South, the excitement of a new start in a new place...one whiff of coffee did that. I marvel at our brains, that they're able to so perfectly recreate moments in time with just a faint scent of something familiar. It's amazing.

*Yes, I realize that coffee goes stale, and that the two-year old roast is probably not at its peak. I don't actually care, and it still tastes fine to me.
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