May-June-2017_flipbook Revised

the Coffee issue

Kettle of Fish by Don Dubuc

“W ell, it’s 4 a.m. I crawl out of bed, I put the coffee on and head for the shed … load up the truck with all my gear, I got Don Dubuc ringing in my ear…” That’s the beginning of the theme song that kicks off my Saturday morning program on the statewide Outdoors with Don Dubuc radio network. Notice that the first thing St. Charles Parish musical artist Reed Alleman suggests after “crawling out of bed” is to “put the coffee on….” It’s a safe bet that, if you’re heading out on your fishing or hunting trip, it’s close to the top of your list too. And while I’m sipping my coffee between 5 and 7 a.m. as I do my broadcast, I realize I’m probably talking to more coffee drinkers than anyone else on the radio! Coffee has for a long time been the kick-starter many of us need to warm up after climbing into a cold tree stand or prior to heading a boat into a 20-knot north wind. It’s also been the soothing complement to a hearty camp breakfast or a stimulant for those post-trip stories told around a campfire or a crackling fireplace. My lifelong love affair with coffee goes way back. My dad got me started. I remember how, whenever we’d visit my grandparents, everyone would sit around the kitchen table and ask, “How do you take your coffee?” I’m not sure, but I think that expression is either a New Orleans or maybe even a general Southern thing. That was before family members communicated via Facebook, text messages and emails. Not that having a cup of joe doesn’t fit well in those online chat rooms, but those precious in-person, family-and-friend visits go better — so much better — over a cup of coffee.

Special occasion coffee turned into a daily routine during my two-year stint in the U.S. Army. Now, if there’s anything lacking consistency, it’s Army or any military version of coffee. Mess hall coffee wasn’t that bad, but even the stuff that came in C ration boxes and had to be stirred with a screwdriver in a tactical or field situation — believe it or not, even that was always welcome. Over time I seem to have become pretty much an all-day, anytime coffee consumer. The colder the temperature, the higher the coffee flow rate. Nighttime coffee usually follows a good dinner or a frogging or bowfishing trip. Otherwise, I’m perpetually looking forward to that first morning cup. Of course, we all have those what I call “special coffee moments.” I’m not sure whether it’s the coffee tasting better as the result of the moment or the moment enjoyed more because the coffee’s part of it. Whichever — certain moments and coffee are as good a match as gumbo and rice — or gumbo and potato salad, for that matter. A personal favorite example of this is that precise moment that comes just minutes before legal shooting time during duck season. For those who are still hours away from your first morning cup, here’s the scenario: You’re dressed in as much waterproof, insulated, camouflage clothing and waders as you can fit on a human body. You head out, sometimes breaking ice (much less frequently thanks to modern global warming) into the dark world of early-morning black water and an array of unusual odors, sometimes braving ravenous insects and slippery serpents before finally arriving at your duck-hunting destination. After untangling and throwing out a few dozen decoys, you settle in under the cover of roseau cane and marsh



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