The Importance of a Thermos Full of Coffee

If you don’t like coffee then don’t even waste your time reading today’s blog post.   Fact is, nothing I can say during the next 500 or so words will succeed in convincing you to give the hot brew a try.   It seems a person either likes hot java, or they can do just fine without it.   Indeed, drinking coffee can certainly be an acquired taste…but be careful, it’s also one of those liquids that can become very addictive, especially in the mornings to get a person going.

I’m one of those people who typically likes to drink my coffee in the morning only.   Do I need it every day…absolutely not!   In fact, I will go for weeks without drinking it, especially during the hot summertime months.   But come fall…there must be something inside me that flicks on an intuitive switch.   I dunno…sitting in the tree stand, taking a break back at the truck after rousting some early morning pheasants, or even sitting on a frozen lake doing some ice fishing.   It’s just sort of nice to reach into a pack and pull out a thermos containing hot coffee.

Indeed, drinking coffee in the outdoors seems to go hand in hand together.   I can remember back in my early youth while fishing with my uncle.   It must have been around 9:30 or so every morning he would pop open his dome topped lunch box and slip out a thermos full of coffee.   Didn’t matter what time of the year it was or how hot the weather might have been.   Lunch time meant drinking some morning brew that my aunt had likely made several hours earlier.   At the time I was way too young to appreciate the beverage…but I sure did like the smell of the coffee as it wafted through the air toward my envious perch in the front of the boat.

HuntersBrewIt must have been sometime in college when I first acquired the taste for coffee.   I suppose those late night study sessions cramming for the mid-quarters will do it to a person.   All I can remember is just how important it was to be carrying a thermos full of coffee into the woods and no longer filling it with hot chocolate.   Now mind you there’s nothing wrong with hot cocoa…but somehow I just don’t quite perceive it as being a “sportsman’s drink.”   At least not like hot coffee.

Maybe the transition from hot chocolate to coffee represents a certain maturation in a sportsman’s life.   Maybe carrying coffee and drinking it in the woods, in the boat or back at camp somehow connects a person with how their elders enjoyed a restful moment enjoying the spirit of the outdoors.   Indeed, nothing is finer in life than pouring a cup of coffee…taking the first sip…and then admiring, for a few moments, the deer you just waylaid before you begin field dressing it.

I can remember a certain Montana antelope hunt I was on where I did that very thing.   I had conducted a sneak on a ‘lopester for a couple of hours and then finally picked out the trophy I was going to shoot.   The conclusion of that experience was certainly punctuated by taking a few admiring moments to just sit next to my trophy and sip on a cup of coffee.   Of course, I did this despite the fact a nasty weather system was building and moments later a storm hit with me stranded with my animal about 4 miles away from my ATV.   I quickly eviscerated the antelope…marked its location to pick up another day…and got the heck out of there.   Yet, to this day, the memory of that particular hunt included relaxing with a cup of coffee while admiring the so-called fruits of my hunting labor.

To some extent when you’re sitting up in a bitterly cold deer stand the promise of coffee will also help lift the spirits.   Have you ever struggled with your body wanting to leave the stand but your mind says you should stay put?   Happens to me all the time.   When the weather is really miserable my mind will sometimes make promises to my feet that let’s stick this out just another 20 minutes to see if anything is going to happen.  

Coffee can be one of those great psychological motivators by adding a little warmth back into the body’s core.   Oh, sure, I realize the insignificance of drinking hot coffee to keep a person feeling warm…but on some cold days there’s just something encouraging about sipping hot coffee when nothing else in the world seems to remember what heat feels like because of the raw chill.

Honestly, I feel a bit sorry for the sportsman who doesn’t appreciate a fine coffee bean beverage.   I’d like to think that when I sit on a stump and admire the great outdoors sipping a freshly poured cup of coffee the experience somehow ties me to other generations before me who probably did that very same thing.   Coffee is a drink of the ages…and it will surely always deserve a spot in the sportsman’s pack.   Besides, when you pull out of your hunting coat a freshly baked oatmeal raisin cookie it just doesn’t taste quite the same when you wash it down with a can of Coke.   You need to have coffee.

© 2006 Jim Braaten.  All Rights Reserved.  No Reproduction Without Prior Permission.