My father passed away in the early 1990's. I miss him every day.  Every. Day. But, on Father's Day, I'm always surprised what I miss the most on Father's Day, and this year it's something that caught me totally off guard. Please, let me share my father with you...

This is the percolator my mom used. It was recalled (something to do with the glue that held the handle band to the carafe being defective and suddenly letting go, spilling and splashing scalding hot coffee everywhere and on everyone), but she wouldn't send it back. So, we kept on using it, but always poured with a hot pad in one hand, jusssst in case it came unglued.

I LOVED assembling the pieces that nested so perfectly, with satisfying sounds as they slid into place. I loved measuring out the coffe. I loved watching it percolate; the gurgle and then a spit of liquid that would glance against the glass top, sinking into the coffee basket, over and over, until, magically, it stopped and was ready to serve.

This morning, and many weekend mornings at The Manse (what I call the place I'm house-sitting), I use this left-behind 1970's percolator.

I'm certain the coffee I make is better than my mom's, mostly because I'm not using Hills Bros. tub o'ground coffee. But, the aroma is very near that which I remember from childhood.

And that aroma is the time machine that returns me to my spot at the table, on the shakey stool to the right of my father. I'd add some sugar and pour the cream (watching it perform a slow, swirling ballet). Then I'd stir the coffee, tap the spoon on the side of the cup, and lay it in the saucer.

Sometimes I miss his hugs. Sometimes I miss his voice in the other room as he was interviewed by this or that radio station. Sometimes I miss the long nighttime drives where I felt so completely safe as I listened to the rhythm of the tires against the seams in the highway (and distant AM station reporting news).

But today? Today, I miss being nine-years-old and stirring his coffee.

W.T. Rabe and James Rabe (1987)