As I say, my father was a real card. He loved to get his little digs in, and he was extremely competitive. For example . . .
On a visit to his home in Alamogordo, a few years before his death, he started to dig in to me about my coffee drinking habits. He wondered why anyone would drink such “weak” coffee. I’d make a pot of coffee with three scoops of his regular coffee. “My coffee would be too strong for you,” he said, “I use four scoops of the regular and one of the Turkish blend.” That’s the competitive part.
The next day he asked me if I knew what Blumechen Kaffee was. We’d both studied German and gotten the hang of it. He was a better reader; I had a better accent and made easier conversation. This was a test, another competition. Blumechen means “little flowers,” and Kaffee is, of course, coffee. My reply was, “I’m going to say that it was some kind of ersatz coffee that they resorted to during the war, made with flowers that were handy.” That’s a good guess right there. I’d give it a B.
He allowed that it was a pretty good guess, and then he explained to me that there were little flowers in the porcelain of German coffee cups, some on the bottom too, and that Blumechen Kaffee was coffee that was so weak that you could see the little flowers right through it. He never gave up, that one.
So now we’re after the hosing that he gave me in his will, and I’m tending to be annoyed about every little thing. I make my coffee in the morning, and I hear those little digs every day, in real time, in his voice. I’m sure that it will wear off before too long, but in the meantime it is very annoying to be reminded so constantly that I’d never measured up as far as he was concerned. In ways both little and big, I was a disappointment.
But look for the good, Fred! I’m trying, believe me.