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Coffee clutch
Drift from a Driftless Place
JOHN GIBBS finished up his western adventures at a Farm-n-Fleet in Las Vegas, browsing the hat section. He'd been on the lookout for a good cowboy hat, and no surprise, he found his dream chapeau in the Wild, Wild West.

GAYS MILLS - My name is John and I’m a coffee drinker. That seems like an appropriate way to start on this topic since I am addicted to the beverage known as ‘Joe.’ How do I know I’m addicted to the java? When I don’t have it, I don’t just miss it, I MISS IT!

I have quit drinking coffee two times, one time accidentally and one time on purpose. 

How do you quit doing something accidentally? I was visiting my folks in California for a week a few years ago. I kept feeling worse and worse as the visit progressed. I developed  a splitting, debilitating migraine headache, nausea, and extreme fatigue. It was bad. I’d been drinking  decaffeinated coffee on the visit, unbeknownst to me, and I was going through withdrawal, pure and simple.

I was missing the kick of caffeine, which is a very potent drug, but thought I was coming down with the flu or worse. Once I discovered what the problem was I had the most satisfying cup of coffee of my life. The comfort and relief was immediate and complete. That’s when I realized how powerful the drug caffeine is.

The time I quit coffee on purpose was different. I quit for a while because I wondered if I needed the stimulation of this legal drug–I probably don’t-–and I didn’t like the idea of being addicted to anything, even friendly old, neighborly, ubiquitous, everyday coffee.

I was successful in weaning myself off of caffeine. I did it by gradually tapering off of straight instant coffee onto decaf instant over a period of about a week. I suffered no ill effects using this method.

I distinctly remember my first cup of coffee. My Dad, brothers and I went deep sea fishing out of Long Beach, California with some visiting Wisconsin relatives when I was about 10.  

The half-day boats leave at about dark thirty, maybe 4 in the morning. The cold, clammy fog would cut right through you. I innocently asked for a cup of hot chocolate at the pay-as-you-go galley/snack bar. The old salt behind the counter just laughed at my request. 

I opted for a coffee and added sugar until it would dissolve no more.  The bitterness of the coffee was still there and now it was syrupy. I drank what I could and threw the rest overboard to share with Davy Jones. I wasn’t impressed with this bitter, adult drink but did appreciate the heat it provided. Later, as an adult, I became a regular coffee drinker.

Some of the most memorable coffee I ever had was made by an old mechanic named Elvis Forgey. I was working in the farm shop of the ZX Ranch in Paisley, Oregon, a summer job in college. 

Every day about mid-morning, Elvis would throw a generous handful of ground coffee and some eggshells into a three-pound Folgers can that was about half full of water. The can was set on a wire rack.  Elvis then fired up his acetylene torch with a rosebud heating tip on it and it heated the can from below. In a very short time, we were drinking a not-bad brew Elvis called cowboy coffee.

I drink coffee everyday now, regular brewed coffee, in moderation., a coupla cups a  day. I don’t drink anything fancy, such as Starbucks Orange Mocha Frappuccino shade grown, hand-picked, Blended Coffee with Soy Milk and extra sprinkles. I take it with half and half, maybe with a little honey if I’m feeling frisky. A guy has to have some vices.