So I'm hooked.
It was something that the Ol' Columnist thought he'd never say.
Yes, I've conquered another world. This time, the taste for one of the planet's greatest so-called "addictions" -- coffee.
Perhaps, it's best to trace my previous objections to such household names as Folgers, Hills Bros., Maxwell House, Nestle', MJB, Columbian and Lavazza Premium Drip. And, of course, staying away from the now familiar Starbucks or Beans To Cup, where I happened to stop the other day.
However, when growing up in the great Nova Scotian metropolis of Bass River, the notable beverage was tea. And through the years, there were brand names such as Salada, Tetley, Red Rose, Twinings and Lipton. However, coffee drinkers were to be avoided like the plague.
There's even a fading photograph of the Boy Wonder on his tricycle wheeling across the Bass River Bridge with a 90-cent package of coveted tea.
Fast forward to Edmonton and there's a fading photograph of former Oilers' tough guy, Dave Semenko, and yours truly sipping tea with our pinkies extended with Mr. Twining (or, maybe, he had some other English moniker) showing his two "pupils" proper manners in tea-drinking. It was an experience not to be forgotten.
With another fast forward, it's early November, 1990, and the Boy Wonder, who's aged considerably, is seated by a bonfire in deepest Africa.
After abhoring even the mention of "coffee" until that point in my life, I was there, sipping "kaffa."
Perhaps, the Ol' Columnist's diary would explain it best:
* Well, the sun has now set and we have "retired" for a feast of injerra -- a dish of spicy meat and cheese ... However, I wasn't prepared for the night-ending ceremony, in which a woman, in traditional African clothing, held a container of a dark, pungent liquid over the flickering bonfire ... From my Ethiopian friends, I learned it was called "kaffa" ... However, on sipping it, I thought it was tar used in road construction ... The taste lingered for days and days ... So this is original "brand" of coffee. No thanks, I said to myself, "never again."
Of course, I wanted to find out where it had originated and there's one story that has spread throughout the world about a Caffa Ethiopian sheepherder named Kaldi, who noticed his sheep becoming hyperactive after eating some "red cherries" from a certain plant. Kaldi tried it himself and he became as "jumpy" as his animals.
Now, along came a monk, who noticed a change in Kaldi's behaviour and condemned those "red cherries" as the "devil's fruit." But later the monks discovered the crushed berries helped them stay awake during prayers.
Before learning this tale, I thought the Ethiopian monks stayed awake in their caves about the monasteries by chewing on something called "chat, which is known to produce an "unnatural high."
But back to "kaffa" -- when I returned to Canada, I determined never to drink anything resembling coffee.
That was until just a few days ago when the "Boss" along with fellow columnist George Dobie and me decided to go for a "coffee" break.
Without thinking, I poured myself a cup and found it not only stimulating, but it tasted great. That's why I'm telling you, I'm now hooked on coffee.
Of course, you can still bribe me with tea, but coffee would be more than a bonus in the future
ON THE STARBUCKS TRAIL: Maybe, you've heard about a scruffy guy named Winter (just Winter), who's only mission in life is to drink coffee at every Starbucks on the planet, according to a feature article in the Palm Beach Post. The 34-year-old told a reporter and I'll quote: "In my teenage years, I guess I had no clue about my place in the world. I was just living, like, living the way that most people live. I was existing, really, instead of acting with purpose. Since that time, I've been determined to act with purpose." Winter has apparently found it; since he's "stopped" at 6,550 Starbucks out of 7,102 in existence. And a few other facts, according to the Florida newspaper, he's sipped gallons of coffee in his travels, but someone should remind him that Starbucks adds 2.8 stores a day in the U.S. alone. So you better watch out for him and his $11,000 Hyundai Accent, and also some guy named Bill Tangeman, who is filming his "Starbucking" adventures. However, the question of the day has to be: What about bladder control, Winter?