Remembering Dad and Coffee From a Saucer


Research tells us the average American commuter, on their way to work each day, passes by 14 locations from which they could purchase coffee. This would include convenience stores, fast food franchises, restaurants/cafes, and Starbucks or Starbucks-like places. The person would have the option of selecting one of 79 flavors of coffee, for which the majority have been imported from 25 different countries around the world. You could choose to drink your coffee from a Styrofoam cup, a paper version (new or recycled), a plastic mug you brought from home or a fancy, $30 porcelain or metallic device that is guaranteed to keep your $5 coffee just as warm for your evening trip back home as it was that morning. What you won’t find, at any of these above mentioned places is a saucer.

Growing up on a farm, in the 1950s, I was awakened each day to the sweet aroma of our one and only choice for coffee – Folgers. It came in a metal can that had to be unsealed with a mechanical opener. Said can would usually last several weeks before beginning its second life as a feed scoop, flower vase or holder of various important items, from fence staples to Grandma’s stash of cash. 

Our day would begin a little before daylight, and everyone would gather around the kitchen table to consume generous portions of eggs, bacon, biscuits and gravy. Everyone, except my father, would have fresh milk to drink with their meal. Dad would have a boiling hot cup of coffee served in a cup with a very deep dish saucer underneath it. I can still remember him carefully tipping the cup of coffee to one side, to watch the saucer slowly fill with the steaming hot liquid. Dad would then reach for the Mason jar of rich, golden, Jersey cream, and dip two or three tablespoons of the thick nectar (the cream was much too thick to pour) into his saucer of coffee. Since I sat to his right, I could watch the tiny globules of fat, from the cream expand and explode as they mixed with the steaming, hot drink. I can still hear Dad’s alternate blowing, sipping and satisfied “ahhhs,” as he consumed what must have been so delicious.

Mom refused to allow me or my sisters, to consume coffee for it was “something for adults to drink,” and much too strong and habit forming for kids to partake. As a matter of fact, I drank my first beer before I ever drank coffee, and I kept both of them a secret from Mom for many years.

While Dad slowly sipped his coffee from the saucer, the rest of us ate and listened to the AM radio that dutifully reported the cattle and hog prices from yesterday’s trading, and the weather forecast for today and tomorrow. After the markets and weather, Dad gave all of us our daily duties to be carried out as soon as morning chores were completed. When he took his last sip of coffee from the old, stained saucer, it was as if a starting pistol had been fired at an Olympic race, and we all scattered to get our work done.

Ahhhh, for the want of a saucer.

Jerry Crownover farms in Lawrence County. He is a former professor of Agriculture Education at Missouri State University, and is an author and professional speaker. To contact Jerry, go to and click on ‘Contact Us.’


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