BreakfClubBlueBill Murphy ©2018

Today we live in a drugged society.  I’m on 5 medications myself.  The problem is with what are called ‘recreational drugs.’  Most folks today have no perception of our  practically drug-free 1940s utopia.

But we did have drugs in the 40s.  The number one drug of choice was nicotine.  And yet, my family was practically unaffected by this drug.  Of my 28 aunts and uncles, I knew of only one uncle who smoked.  My maternal grandfather had a corncob pipe (which I now have), but I never witnessed him smoking it.  And for a while, my maternal grandmother dipped snuff.  I’m so thankful that my upbringing helped me dodge the nicotine bullet!

The second most prevalent 1940s drug was alcohol.  And again, my family was largely untouched by this free-flowing drug.  At the very end of our street was the Night Owl Cafe, a neighborhood ‘watering hole’ which sold beer.  I only set foot in the place one time in the 19 years I lived on Evergreen… and that time was to get change to ride the city bus.  However, I did taste my first beer when I was 5… when my mother gave me a tiny sip of the nasty brew she was instructed to drink… as an aid in milk production… when my sister was a baby.  Crazy, huh?

The third drug of choice, and the one on which I was soon hooked, was caffeine… served hot, administered orally, suspended in delicious coffee.  My snuff-dipping grandmother lived next door.  By the time I was two, Mamaw Fairchild would stand at her back door, and Mom would watch for ours ‘s, as I toddled across the driveway and along the well worn path to Mamaw’s.

Mamaw’s kitchen was tiny.  Her small table was pushed against the rear wall, allowing for only 3 chairs around the table.  And there we’d sit, almost everyday, enjoying one another’s company while eating hot buttered toast and drinking coffee liberally laced with sugar and milk – while listening to Don McNeill’s Breakfast Club on the radio.

In my case, that happy morning ritual of 75 years ago got me thoroughly hooked on coffee.  The positive reinforcement that coffee, Mamaw, and Don McNeill gave my psyche was solidly welded in place.

Mamaw Fairchild has been gone for decades, as has Don McNeill.  Gone also is that tiny kitchen… that cherished haven of contentment.  But what has not faded are those valued memories.  Today, each sip of coffee, takes me back to those wonderful, carefree days of childhood… back to when we danced in our minds around the breakfast table, with Don McNeill.  Good Morning Breakfast Clubbers… I’ll drink to that!





Mug© 2018 Bill Murphy

At my age, there are times when I have difficult getting all my ducks in a row.  Today was one of those days.

I was preparing to leave for a work-meeting of my writer’s group.  We were to assemble a display of group projects. While keeping one eye on the clock so as not to be late, I was busy gathering the supplies I’d need: two large aluminum display easels, notebook, pen and pencil, razor knife… and a grande-size coffee in a plastic travel mug – without a lid.  I’ve lost the lid.

As I walked out the door, I decided I might need a light jacket.  “You left the jacket in the car,” my wife remarked.

Reaching the car, I sat the coffee on the hood, put everything inside, and located the jacket – carelessly tossed on the back seat.  Then I jumped inside, and was on my way.

But… one of my ducks had gotten out of his row.

I backed into the street, then headed the 100 yards or so to the intersection, and turn left. Out of the corner of my eye, I thought I saw a red flash… or something.  Coffee mug!

I’d left the travel mug on the hood, and somehow, it remained there until I made that hard left at the end of our street.  I jumped out to behold a truly amazing sight!  The now empty travel mug lay in the street almost exactly where I began my turn.

From where it lay, a long light brown wet 90 degree arc was painted on the street.  It was a ‘perfect’ arc, smooth and uniform.  It could not have been rendered better by a street artist using a compass.

I still drink my coffee the way my grandmother taught me 75 years ago – cream and sugar – heavy on both.  Knowing that surely there was coffee on the car (which is white) and knowing this would dry to a sticky mess, and knowing that we had bottled water in the car, I had the means to wash down the offending portions of the vehicle.

About this time an elderly couple (obviously older than me) pulled along side.  “Are you leaking water?” he asking.

“No, coffee,” I replied.





© 2017 Bill Murphykeurig

Two days ago I had a TEE procedure.  According to the American Heart Association –

A Transesophageal Echocardiography (TEE) is a test that produces detailed pictures of the heart. TEE uses high-frequency sound waves to make pictures of the heart and the arteries that lead to and from it. Unlike a standard echocardiogram, the echo transducer that produces the sound waves for TEE is attached to a thin tube that passes through the mouth, down the throat and into the esophagus. Because the esophagus is so close to the upper chambers of the heart, very clear images of those heart structures and valves can be obtained.

This test was to determine if I had a tiny hole in the heart,  allowing blood to flow where it should not.  Thankfully,  I ‘passed’ the test,  and no hole was found!

The test (to me anyway) was not exactly as advertised.

I was told that the probe was ‘tiny.’  I beg to differ.  When I wasn’t looking,  they switched mine to one the size of a small shoebox!

They gave me an injection to ‘relax’ me.  I think it was plain water.

They said that I wouldn’t remember a thing.  If that were true,  then I wouldn’t be writing this now!

Either somebody lied,  or I really am just a big baby.

In retrospect,  I’m forced to admit that the injection did have some type of narcotic in it.  I was rather dopey while walking (with assistance) back to the car.

When back home,  what I did next caused me to re-think plans for the afternoon.

I wanted coffee. We have a Keurig, one of those one-cup-at-a-time coffee makers. We buy ground coffee, and fill our own plastic Keurig brew cups. My habit is to add my creamer and sweetener into my coffee mug first, and brew the coffee into/onto it.  So, I arranged the necessary elements,  added a spoonful of sweetener to my mug,  added a spoonful of creamer to the mug,  and then – added a spoonful of ground coffee into the coffee mug.

Like I said,  that injection must have had something in it!



Coffee Please


©2017 Bill Murphy

Coffee is one of those strange brews. (Pardon the pun.) It goes beyond take it or leave it – bordering on either can’t stand the stuff, or can’t live without it. I fall in the later category. I once told a pastor that if he ever started preaching against coffee – I would find a new church.

Coffee and I go way back, almost 74 years to be exact. My grandmother, whom I was blessed to have live next door, started me on coffee as soon as I was old enough to walk next door to her house. Mom said I walked at 18 months.

Grandma Fairchild drank Folger’s. It came in squatty round tin cans, that came with a ‘key’ (much like a sardine can) which you turned to unfasten the lid from the can. I remember these details because as a boy of 10 or so, I put a firecracker under one of those Folger’s cans with the intent of shooting it into the clouds. Mama Fairchild, probably no more than 20 feet away, was bending over pruning her flowers. The can didn’t go up – it went straight into Grandma’s butt. Oh well. She still loved me afterwards.

Carol and I have a married granddaughter, Whitney, who as a child traveled a lot with her Grammie and Pop Pop. At restaurants, Carol and I would have coffee mornings, noon, and night. When Whitney was no more than 2, I started her on coffee, served just as it was served to me as a child, with a liberal lacing of sugar and cream. Whitney enjoyed drinking hers from those tiny little plastic creamer cups. I felt not the slightest sense of remorse for giving that baby that ole devil-brew.

Every so often you hear of some government study which proves coffee causes everything from dandruff to multiple births. Then a few months later they claim it cures everything from ED to toe fungus. Those claims are like my old neck-ties – keep ‘em around long enough and they’ll be back in style. I’ll drink to that! Coffee – please.