It was shortly after 6:00 am on February 28th, 2015 that it finally saw the light of day again. I cut the tape, opened the box and started unpacking the components from the Styrofoam. It was A Keurig 2.0 K500 coffee maker and it was the most expensive model that Walmart offered at the time. It was my first venture into the K-Cup movement. My wife of 20 years had always filled two heaping scoops into a coffee filter the night before and added water into the reservoir. Sometimes she would set a brew time, other times she would leave it, so that at the push of a button we could simply brew a pot for the morning. This was my surprise to her. No more late night jumping out of bed proclaiming, “I forgot to make the coffee for the morning.”
If you find it odd that I can recollect the purchase of a simple appliance, I understand. Under normal circumstances, I would find it odd myself. But in my defense, there are extenuating circumstances. These circumstances include the reason for the purchase, the timing of the purchase… and everything that seemed to follow.
Shortly after unboxing, I followed the instructions and had two cups of coffee brewed. I had left the house before 5:00 am while she was still sleeping and had managed to return, unbox, set up and brew the coffee before she had awakened. I brought her a cup in bed. I had no idea that after 20 years, this was the last cup of coffee we would share as husband and wife. My marriage ended on this day.
At first, I came to resent the sight of this coffee maker. It seemed to be a constant reminder every morning of my failed marriage. In fact, I actually prayed for the damn thing to break. Any excuse to scrap it and start over. But somehow it never did.
Over time, it started my days… both hectic work days rushing out of the door and lazy weekends where I could sip it slowly at a relaxed pace. It was almost too reliable. I came to cherish it. I started caring for it… cleaning it often and always adding filtered water into the reservoir. I would even find myself wiping fingerprints off the display and handle.
Looking back, I had made coffee on some of the most traumatic events of my life. The deep conversations I had with others (and myself) over a hot cup of coffee, somehow intertwined this machine into the very fabric of my being. Through many friendships and relationships, it was there in the background… doing it’s job to get me started on another day.
I had coffee with my mother… while she was still healthy enough to come to my house during the last months of her life. I was drinking a cup when I got the news my closest friend had passed. I was having a cup of coffee… spending the last morning with my dog of 15 years… knowing what was coming as the vet would arrive later that day to put her to sleep. It was early one morning when I got the call… my ex-wife had passed away unexpectedly.
There were mornings that maybe I added a little too much bourbon to my coffee cup. But the coffee maker somehow seemed to understand… and never passed judgement. I often received praise for my coffee making abilities when I had company. To mimic the hip coffee house cups of coffee, I added a flavored creamer with whipped cream into the cup, and then let the coffee brew slowly over. It tasted a lot fancier than it actually was. The cups I shared with countless friends, acquaintances and family… through good times and heartaches… indeed, this coffee maker had seen the best and worst of me.
And then in late March of 2021, I could hear a unique sound as I brewed a cup. It was almost a death rattle. The coffee seemed to take 3 times as long to brew. It was trying to tell me something. A feeling of overwhelming sadness poured over me… it poured over me like the coffee slowly brewing into the cup.
Researching the life expectancy of these coffee makers, I found that 5 years is the average. We all have a job to do… we all have a life expectancy. I can’t complain, it served it’s purpose and like a good friend, it never let me down. No judgement as to the company I kept, the hours I slept (or didn’t sleep) or the contents I added to my cup.
And so, on March 27th, 2021… more than 6 years after I brought it home… I made my last cup. I laced the cup with 110 proof Maker’s Mark… patted it on the display when it almost exhaustedly finished the brew. Telepathically, I thanked it for being there for me during the most trying times of my life. With my dogs at my feet as I sit at my computer, I am sipping the final cup as I write this. Goodbye my good friend.