Few and far between
Are times that I look back
Remember what my soul has seen
How you kept us on track

The path we took was sometimes rough
You helped us find our way
Making sure we had enough
By struggling through each day

Your faith and love has pulled us through
The trials overcome
All we know we learned with you
You taught us to become

Our lives together still incomplete
I need to stop and show
To be with you is such a treat
You help our spirits grow


With all of the election events happening (congratulations, by the way, to those lucky candidates selected to have another student government activity to list on their resume), I’ve been considering what my stance should be politically. Am I a liberal with conservative moral tendencies, or am I a conservative corrupted by the perversion of a progressive society? The election committee is still out on that one, but from this angle, it really seems that I’m just a college student worried about how I’m going to come up with $1.56 for a gallon of gas or how I plan to get myself out of bed for my 9:00 a.m. classes. I suppose that my cynicism has moved me to apathy in recent years, as I can’t quite figure out why the same people who would take our guns would have us kill our babies, or why those who would prevent us from putting an end to an unwanted pregnancy would have us leave our guns around so that the children can kill each other and themselves. It reminds me of people who tell me that we should be able to do anything with our bodies, such as discard them when we are tired of the suffering that is life, but are appalled by the idea that some women choose to sell the eggs their bodies produce. Or people who call for the treatment of all with dignity and respect, but stop short of those who might want to better their lives by migrating to our country to benefit from the prospering economy. Or people who verbally abuse those with different values, in the name of “peace,” and wage ideological wars on those who view the world differently. A slogan comes to mind: “Think globally, act locally.” Lately, I have maybe been taking that a little too much to heart. I have narrowed my field of exerted energy to no further than three feet around myself at any given time. I have the benefit (or handicap) of judging myself by intentions and others by their actions. Voting may be a form of empowerment, but I am likely to have a lot more control over the world around me if I focus my energy on my own attitude and actions. I identify well with a song written in the seventies that refrains: “I’d love to change the world, but I don’t know what to do, so I leave it up to you.” I live in a time of not knowing what to want or how to get it. I will grow and learn, and I will discover those things. I may not remain apathetic forever, but I don’t think that I’ll reach the point by November where I’m comfortable saying that I have any idea of how things should be done. Maybe I will know, by then, how I plan to get that $1.56. Of course, the gas prices will have gone up.


I dreamt last night of kissing you
Taste so right and feel so true
Waking I know what to do
And I cannot be with you

Why do I long to see you smile
And cast me off into exile
Why my soul I will defile
Just to see if you might smile

I want you to think I’m right
So you will hate or try to fight
To my disdain you must requite
Or I may start to think I’m right

How does life progress this way?
So many things I cannot say
Carried on into each day
Will I ever find my way?

Can I know that which I seek?
With our faces cheek to cheek
Close to you life is so bleak
Myself is whom I really seek

But still through you I search for peace
Pain through passion will not cease
If my grasp I can release
Perhaps I will not need a piece

Are you the one I want to know?
Or is this but a time to grow?
Supposing only time will show
It is my God I need to know

Hair of red and eyes so green
Maybe you will keep me clean
But then I will not be serene
On the other side of green

Take some notice if you please
And feed in to my disease
This new lesson will be a breeze
If I learn I cannot please

One more defect I can relate
When I do not isolate
Loneliness is not our fate
In our sickness we relate

When we at our own cost die
Forget the rest we now must try
If only you could make me cry
I would have no need to die

Your dark hair and big brown eyes
Will always carry my demise
How can I live with all the lies?
As no truth will realize

But one time I call for you
Maybe should have gone for two
Hair of blond and eyes so blue
I don’t think I can know you

The Origins of Coffee Consumption

Each night, before I go to bed, I go through a certain routine. This usually involves changing into my pajamas and washing my face. More importantly, though, I go through the process of preparing my coffeemaker for the next morning. I carefully measure ten small scoops of beans into my grinder, where I grind it for ten to twelve seconds. I then put the ground coffee into a filter and place the filter into the basket on my coffee maker. After doing that, I take a coffee pot full of water and pour the water into the coffee maker. The point of this little ritual is to make it that much easier to wake up in the morning. If I had to do all of that in the morning, I would surely not wake up. When I do this, I simply wake up and flip a switch to have a freshly brewed pot of coffee in just a matter of minutes.

Doing all of this, and drinking my coffee in the morning, I don’t stop to think about what coffee really is. I mean, it’s just a cup of coffee, right? Well, after doing some research on the history of coffee and different types of coffee available, I learned that coffee is a lot more than just a “cup of Joe.”

Drinking coffee is a relatively new phenomenon, in the grand scheme of things. Coffee plants are believed to have first grown in Northern Arabia around 675 AD. The beans from this plant were rarely cultivated until the late fifteenth or sixteenth century. According to some folklore, a goat was the first to discover the effects of coffee. Kaldi the shepherd was out walking his goat, and he noticed that, after the goat ate the cherries from a coffee plant, the goat grew excited and hyperactive. Kaldi, probably bored with the shepherd’s life, decided to try some of the beans, too. A monk chanced upon the scene and decided that the cherries of the coffee plant were the “fruit of the devil”. It wasn’t long, though, before the monks learned to make drinks from the coffee plants that helped them to stay awake for their prayers. While some Christians were concerned that the drinks were the devil’s concoction, Pope Vincent III thought that he ought to try the drink before he banished it. After trying the drink, the pope blessed it, because he felt that the infidels shouldn’t be alone in enjoyment of such a wonderful drink. This story may be of questionable origin. The bottom line, though, is that by the early eighteenth century, the drinking of coffee had become much more popular. In 1714, the first successful transplant of coffee took place when the French relocated a plant into the West Indies. From that one plant, there are now hundreds of successful Latin American coffee plantations. Coffee beans are now a major commodity in the modern world. From Colombia alone, 12 million 154 pound bags of coffee are shipped annually.

There are two main types of coffee beans that are used for drinking purposes. The first type is Coffea arabica. Known simply as “arabica”, these beans are the more exclusive form. They are limited to the best growing conditions, such as high altitudes and tropical climates. The other type of bean used for drinking is Coffea canephora. Known as “robusta”, this type of coffee is more prevalent, as it can grow in more adverse conditions than arabica. The robusta is the type of bean used in typical canned, ground coffee. Arabica is the type of coffee that any restaurant worth its weight in beans will tout as their brew.

There are a wide variety of drinks now available based on coffee. The basis of most of these drinks is espresso, a concentrated form of coffee. Some of the drinks that can be made with espresso include the latte, an espresso combined with steamed milk; the mocha, an espresso combined with steamed milk and chocolate; the cappuccino, combining foamed and steamed milk with espresso; and an americano, which combines a shot of espresso with steamed water.

As you can see, coffee holds a distinct legacy in our society. There is much more to coffee than just “regular or decaf” and “cream and sugar.” Coffee is an integral part of our society today, and for that, I am grateful.