By Jeff Johnston, FE Hunting & Shooting Editor
My late father wasn’t a cruel man, but a loving one. And the old man loved coffee like no other.
He liked it hot, strong and by the pot. He loved it at noon in the summer, at midnight just before bed. It didn’t matter, so long as that coffee was not defiled by whisper of cream, sugar or any order of overpriced “froufrou shit” from Starbucks. On the other hand, I, his only son, really only drank it when I was hungover or needed to get up at 4:30 a.m. to go hunting, and so we had our differences.
“Son,” he said somberly as I finished pumping a shot of hazelnut Coffee Mate into a mug of his prized New Orleans Coffee & Chicory that was as black as a nun’s shoe, “You know I’ll still love you even if you’re gay.”
And then there was the time a few years later—same deal, duck hunting—when I suggested we take some instant coffee to go since we were running late.
“Son,” he said somberly, as though I’d burned his old baseball cards and pawned his Model 12, “I still love you, but I simply cannot stand for some of your life choices.”
Now that I’m older, he’s gone and I have a son of my own, I find myself agreeing with him more than I ever thought I would. Generally he was right about instant coffee.
So you can understand my disappointment, disdain even, when I was rousted at 4:30 a.m. by an eager duck guide—Captain Bob Wetherald of Mid River Guide Service—who held out a boiling cup of … water.
He then handed me a packet of instant coffee.
“What is this crap?” I said, too tired to consider niceties.
“BRCC instant” he said. “I used to hate instant too, until I tried this.”
Having no other option, I tried it as if I was being forced to kiss a cat’s ass. And you know what? He was right. It wasn’t bad.
A few weeks later while at elk camp in grizzly country, spiked out at 9,500 feet in a wet snowstorm at 4:30 a.m. and seriously contemplating my life decisions, I looked to the sky and spoke somberly.
“Dad … I’m truly sorry, but this is the best shit I’ve ever tasted, instant or not.”