Christmas has always been quite enjoyable for me. Not counting the bitter cold weather and dark dreary skies, I’ve always really enjoyed it. When I was a kid, I obviously related to it much differently than I have as an adult but I still really enjoy it all. It brings back such exceptionally nice memories. Having to shop at such a crowded hectic time gets me crazy and I could do without the Christmas carols and sales starting in October but it’s a good time for me. One thing that nauseates me is the incessant insatiable left-wing determination to knock Christianity down. We’re expected to pretend it’s the holiday season when in reality it’s entirely about Christmas and that’s most certainly nothing to apologize for. Nobody expects proponents of Black History Month to apologize for being too black, or condemns the Puerto Rican Day Parade for being overly Puerto Rican. When was the last time you heard of the Jews’ being expected to apologize for their Judaism? This morning I went to get my daily coffee at the Coffee Nut Cafe on Park Avenue and one of the ladies behind the counter made a Christmas tree design on it. I was quite saddened to see that she felt somehow compelled to apologize for not having bothered to ask, first, if I celebrated Christmas. There’s something awfully nightmarishly wrong with a leftist cultural climate, in which someone has to expect to get into trouble for such a nice thing. Not counting all the aggravation that naturally ensues from the inevitable aches and pains connected with Christmas inconveniences and responsibilities, my infatuation with the good and important parts is the same as it ever was.
Having lived in New York and northeastern Pennsylvania throughout all my lifetime, I’m most certainly quite used, by now, to insane amounts of snow. I’ve also seen lots of it in western New York, including their recent storm, their worst ever. Fortunately, however, I’ve never once been subjected to an avalanche. Were I ever to have to face such a calamity, without hope of being rescued until the next day, I should be forced to think of how relieved I should inevitably be to get out alive. Anxiety often overtakes me so I should have to attempt not to focus on all the first hand circumstances. Perhaps that would be precisely the perfect time during which to indulge my lifelong habit of wallowing in the past. Besides the obvious thoughts of the immediate future, during which I should be able to dwell upon the security of a nice warm environment, I could also think of winters of yore, when even the worst of snowstorms inevitably found me inside someplace, safely awaiting the spring. During the average storm previous to this disaster, I could always expect to be subjected to nothing scarier than shoveling and driving. I wonder if, under those circumstances, I may please be permitted to have in my possession a significant supply of hot coffee, a large cup, and creamer to show for all my troubles. If that were possible, much of my battle could already be won anyway. I could veritably rejoice in the peace and quiet, temporarily isolated from all the disgusting cell phones and pop cultural nightmares. How pleasant it all would be not, at least temporarily, to have to be forcibly reminded, of all the truly atrocious things that are going on these days. That’s having been said, the only truly insurmountable nightmare would be the temperature and other weather problems.
I am coffee, a most unrelentingly potent and seductive elixir. I have been one of mankind’s greatest possessions since at least the fourteenth century. Pope Clement VIII, sometime during either the late sixteenth or early seventeenth century, encouraged Catholics to start drinking me. Some people don’t particularly enjoy me but most people find me quite enticing. I can be drunk plain, black and unsweetened, or with milk, sugar, as well as a wide variety of other flavorings. People often enjoy me with alcoholic beverages too. I often have a large amount of caffeine in me so many people tend to have drastic problems when they drink me. My smell is exceptionally intoxicating. I fit in equally well at all kinds of occasions, ranging from the casual to the formal, happy and sad, work and play. I’m sort of an introduction to adulthood for most people. You don’t usually see very many children or teenagers imbibing me. Some countries, such as England, prefer tea, but the people who enjoy me simply can’t get enough of me. They literally start each and every single morning of their lives with me, as if my presence is somehow unavoidably mandatory. Some people can’t handle me well. I’ve been known to give them problems ranging from headaches to insomnia. Often, though, they’re quite willing to make the sacrifice in order to enjoy me. I’m like any drug, or addictive compulsive behavior. If someone neglects to watch his step with me I can take complete control, akin to a Faustian bargain, of his life. In a way you could even say I’m sort of like a liquid Satan. I’m found everywhere. I can’t be avoided. I give all kinds of short-term enjoyment, and promise even more. There’s an inevitable catch though. I can’t be trusted.
Dear coffee, Now that I’ve decided to write you a letter, I should like to tell you quite a few things, many of which may be very difficult for you to accept. Ever since I was in my late teens I’ve always been quite a compulsive coffee addict. I could tell you, Oh somewhat demonically inclined brew, with which I have always been quite inordinately preoccupied, that over the course of all this timeyou have consistently subjected me to as much pain and sorrow, at the very least, as happiness and enjoyment. For the past couple of decades it appears the we’ve come to a bit more of an understanding but for a while there you gave me a bit too much trouble. You gave me nightmarishly bad migraines, and a violently sick stomach if I drank you black. I never even so much as dare to think of drinking you black anymore, and the headaches have stopped, though now they occasionally come from other sources, and I have always lost sleep over you. I enjoy you in a wide variety of flavors and ethnic varieties, as the ladies at the Coffee Nut Cafe on Park Avenue know quite well. Many people only enjoy the plain kind. Steve doesn’t like any flavors. Sam appears to like only the Costa Rican kind. I like all varieties though. If somehow, over the course of one day, I could put all my feelings about coffee into a letter, I should say that you, like many people, can have quite an intoxicating effect on an individual, leading him to push his luck quite inordinately and to accept quite a horrendous amount of punishment in exchange for a nice time. Now that the nasty part of our relationship is over, you’re like an old friend, who always seems to show up at precisely the right times, in order to help me both to enjoy festive occasions and to endure hardship.
Your Biggest Fan
If a stranger comes knocking and wants to know how he can get to the Long Beach station of the Long Island Railroad, I should ask him if perchance he may enjoy an ice cream cone. If so then he could start his trip by going for a few miles into the opposite direction on Park Avenue, to Marvel. It’s pronounced to rhyme with Carvel. He’ll be headed toward the Loop Parkway, somewhat past there, in case he really wants to go far away. After that he may want to go down past Beech Street to see the several miles of beaches we have around here. Who could possibly even try to resist our enchanting boardwalk? While there he could either rest or exercise. I’ve been there several times since I first got here. On his way back in this direction he may stop at the Lido Kosher Deli, as well as the liquor store, Italian restaurant and pizzeria right next door to the Key Food on Park Avenue. Across the street from them is Associated too. Except for the kosher deli’s French fries I really like all the stuff they have there. Perhaps he could go down to the West End where they have a nice business district with several restaurants, as well as a CVS, and bagel shops. Maybe he could even stop at Swingbelly’s Restaurant, where my niece works. If he happens to show up on either a Wednesday or a Saturday he can go to the Farmer’s Market at Kennedy Plaza. That’s very close to the train station. Of course for good coffee he could go to the Coffee Nut Cafe and Gentle Brew. Depending on his religion he may want to visit either Young Israel or the Knights of Columbus Council 2626. For clothes he could go slightly over the bridge onto Long Beach Road in Island Park and shop at Kohl’s and Marshall’s. By the time he even remembers that all he wanted to catch a train he will have seen much of what really keeps life interesting around here.
I walked into the Coffee Nut Cafe on Park Avenue at around nine thirty this morning, fully expecting it to be yet another droll ordinary day. That was not to be. From out of nowhere a legendary World War One flying ace walked in and ordered a large cappuccino. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Over the course of the past nine months I’ve frequently seen him in town but never in all my born days could I possibly have expected to meet him. I tried to say hello. He politely nodded and smiled.
“My deah, I should like a lahge cappuccino,”
was the only thing he uttered the entire time he was there among us. His speech and demeanor were so authoritative and intimidating. We were all hoping he may have been willing to stay for a while and tell us a story of all his grand and glorious exploits. It was not to be though. Everyone has always wanted his autograph. Perhaps at least one of among us shall be so fortunate as to be able to gain his confidence. We’re so proud to have him even living among us. He’s quite a colorful fellow. Until then, though, we shall be happy merely to hope for the very best. He’s Long Beach’s most distinguished character. We hope he stays a long time among us.
Albert wandered into the bathroom one morning to get ready for work.
“Clara?” he called out from force of habit.
He got no answer. She was away visiting her parents. Now he could at last have some free time to think. The silence was deafening though. The long-married man both enjoyed the break from routine and missed her company.
“Life is filled with confusion like that,” he thought out loud.
He proceeded to shave and to brush his teeth, eagerly awaiting his coffee and the Daily News. More importantly, he was eager to call her that afternoon.
Early last Saturday afternoon I was sitting at a table at one of the local cafes on Park Avenue, leisurely sipping my caramel cappuccino, when I was approached by a tall stranger in a dark grey pin striped suit. He asked me my name. I introduced myself politely, not understanding entirely why I bothered. The fellow, who insisted on remaining anonymous, nodded and replied,
“I’ve been looking for you.”
He went on to explain that a group of gentlemen, whom he would only refer to as Messrs. Waverly, Solo and Kuryakin, were interested in getting in touch with me about quite an exceptionally urgent problem. According to him, they believed that I was the only man in the Western Hemisphere who was capable of handling such a grave responsibility.
“Aah!” I exclaimed. “So my reputation appears to be all that people have told me it is.”
He then asked me to get into his unmarked limousine so we could take a brief ride to the nearby train station. We got onto the Long Island Railroad train and rode for about an hour to Penn Station in Manhattan. We then walked over to one of the restaurants in the station and he proceeded to introduce me to the three gentlemen. They explained all they wanted me to do. Another fellow gave me my passport and a large sum of money in order to facilitate my adventures. Of course I’m not at liberty to divulge any information. Naturally I was a little taken aback at first, not having been positive that I could be expected to handle such a responsibility. After a while, though, I started getting quite a kick out of it all. I knew I’d be expected to wear expensive clothes and hairstyles, to drive a seriously fancy car, to consort with exceptionally lovely women, and to drink my martinis shaken, not stirred. Inevitably I shall soon be given a collection of guns, and all the other hep gadgets that go with such a groovy lifestyle. I shall also have to learn about all the requisite protocol that inevitably is incumbent upon a gentleman who has taken such a profound responsibility upon himself. It will take me a while to become acclimated to my new surroundings and circumstances but I’m really looking forward to it.