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Rated: E · Short Story · Family · #2317517
Our morning coffee - served with humor and a little help from the animal kingdom
The Coffee Monkey - by James Fox

         I am happily married, but it took a new puppy to remind me that humor helps keep a marriage happy. Actually; a cup of morning coffee served with humor and a bit of help from the animal kingdom!

         Our old dog had passed on a while ago, so we’d gotten a new dog. It was a puppy, and we were its first owners. Basically, however, although a new dog, it was the same “old” type of dog. What I mean is, a dog that would learn only the standard “old” tricks. We had been teaching the dog to sit, stay, speak, and shake hands. But I knew in my heart that I would never be able to teach it to make the morning coffee.

         In a way that was just fine because I learned something about my marriage after our old dog had died. I’d been married to Marsha, the love of my life, for over 3 decades then. As our three children are 5 years apart in age, we found ourselves still raising kids into this 21st century. The previous winter our old dog passed away at age 15, which is about 105 in dog years. So our kids had always had that dog around and that loss left a big gap when they’d visit.

         The next spring, our daughter, who was our last child at home and a junior in high school, suggested we get another dog. I’d said “maybe we’d think about it” and added under my breath “but not very hard,” as I mentally calculated how long we’d have the dog after our daughter leaves home. But for several weeks she kept bringing up the subject whenever she’d run into me in the kitchen during her mad morning dash to grab breakfast and head off to school. She wore me down. Thus, that new puppy came into our lives.

         I am in the habit of getting up each morning and fixing the coffee for Marsha and myself. When our old dog was still alive, I’d also let it out and dish up the dog food while I waited for the coffee to finish perking. Then I’d glance at the weekly calendar on the fridge to see if I needed to get down one or two coffee mugs. Marsha had recently taken on a new job where she sometimes worked an early schedule and sometimes late; on mornings when she could sleep in, she liked to take her coffee later.

         One morning as I got up, I joked that maybe instead of getting a new dog, we should have gotten a monkey and trained it to make the morning coffee. As I exited the bedroom and headed for the kitchen, Marsha’s voice, muffled by the covers snuggled around her head, echoed after me, “I do have a trained monkey that makes the morning coffee!” I smiled, happy to know she still appreciates me after all these years.

Originally edited and published in The Front Porch Periodical July 2005

At open mic readings, I precede this story by reading my story, Staremaster, which also involves a cup of coffee

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