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To Your Health – Have Another Gallon of Java

     How about that? We can drink coffee again. The real stuff. Did you hear the results of the latest coffee study? Turns out, according to these highly intelligent people, that caffeinated coffee prevents diabetes, provides antioxidants and makes us happier. The only catch is, we have to drink at least five gallons a day. Or was it eight cups? Anyway…

     About six months before this good news hit the airwaves, I had bravely started drinking caffeinated coffee again - on my own, without professional guidance. I just couldn’t handle one more sip of that decaffeinated brown liquid that had become a staple at our house, so early one morning I drove straight to the supermarket and bought a whole pound - that would be eleven ounces – of the most expensive coffee I could find. Not the gourmet stuff. Real coffee. The kind you drink on your way to work in the morning, the kind you drink at your desk all day and with dessert after dinner in the evening.

     I brought my treasure home and hid it on the highest shelf of the pantry, where we keep the punch bowl we haven’t used since October, 1994. No one would find it there. (That’s where I hide my Snickers bars, so I know.)

     Next came the hard part. How was I going to brew this stuff without the decaf people in the household finding out? Hard to hide that delicious aroma wafting through the air and I didn’t want to tempt them because they truly had to drink decaf - for health reasons of their own.

     Also, I didn’t want to contaminate their decaf coffee pot, so I dug out this lime green coffee pot I’d bought a couple of years ago for nine dollars and ninety-five cents at Target. It was small and fit easily on a narrow shelf in my office at home, and that’s where I brewed my caffeinated brew - behind closed doors and unbeknownst to the decaf crowd.

     Actually, decaf isn’t all that bad, and I had wanted to be a good sport – share the suffering with the troops, you know. So for a long time, I drank the “unleaded” without a word of complaint. But when I started to get headaches, I had second thoughts. Especially when the headaches came halfway through each cup of decaffeinated coffee.

     Could it be the decaf? To experiment, I stopped drinking the decaf. The headaches stopped. Aha! Some people have to go off caffeinated coffee. Some people have to go on caffeinated coffee. Wonderful! From now on, I’ll take the leaded, thank you.

     My uncle introduced me to the mysteriously delicious flavor of coffee when I was only ten years old. He slipped me a teaspoonful of warm beige coffee one day in a restaurant on a hillside in western Pennsylvania, and that was it. I was smitten. For years after that I satisfied my coffee cravings with coffee-flavored ice cream cones, and then all of a sudden one day I was a grown-up and I could drink the real stuff.

     The real stuff at that point was the coffee my mother drank, Nescafe instant coffee. Came in a glass jar – little brown flakes with a glitter that instantly turned a cup of boiling water into black mud. When I got married, I graduated to brewed coffee.

     Last week I confessed my clandestine caffeine brewing to the decaf crowd. To my amazement, no one cared. They’ve truly become decaf addicts and can’t understand why anyone would want to go back to drinking that deadly caffeinated stuff.

     Well, for one - I do. And now that this study has come out, I’m going to have to get a bigger shelf for my office - for my new five-gallon coffee-maker. I wonder if they come in lime green…

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