Keeping it simple

Sunday mornings have a slow pleasant rhythm around our place.

Sunday mornings have a slow pleasant rhythm around our place.

While one of us feeds the dogs and the birds, lights the stove and makes coffee the other heads out with a pair of buckets to feed the chickens, gather eggs and throw some hay to the sheep and horses.

While the chores are being done my thoughts never stray too far from the pot of fresh coffee.

When all the critters are content it is pure bliss to pour a cup and curl up on the couch to watch the birds in the feeder. It’s the little things that make me happy.

Last Sunday unfolded the same way as countless ones before it. As usual I was first to the coffee pot and had just settled into the couch when Darcy lifted the carafe to pour a cup of his own. The quiet of the morning was shattered by the sound of breaking glass. Hot coffee and glass were everywhere. When Darcy lifted the pot the handle inexplicably broke off. There was no gradual loosening. One minute it was solidly attached and the next it wasn’t.

My first thought was how am I going to get through the day without a second cup of coffee? Or at least that’s Darcy’s version. But it simply isn’t true.  As my beloved stood there among the shards of glass splattered with scalding hot coffee my first thought was alarm over having to figure out all the buttons on a new coffee pot.

No small thing considering how long it had taken me to figure out the one we had. But seriously, it was nothing short of a miracle that Darcy was neither cut nor burned and for that I was very, very, grateful. And so was Darcy.

It occurred to us that we could simply find a carafe — a sturdy carafe — that would fit the unit saving having to relearn what all the buttons were for.  Alas, it was not to be. The only two carafes we could find didn’t fit. And so the coffee-pot shopping began. Coffee pots with carafes, coffee pots with individual mugs. Coffee pots with carafes and travel mugs. Coffee pots with two mugs and divided baskets capable of brewing up two different strengths of coffee at the same time.

But that would take all the fun out of racing to be the first one to make coffee just so we got it the way we liked. Prices ranged all the way to 300 bucks, and by the looks of the machine you were paying by the button. Did I mention I hate lots of buttons?

And then I saw it.

If life were a movie a beam of white light would have streaked down upon it and angels would have broke into song.

There it sat pushed off into a corner like an unruly relative.

Its only feature was a carafe with a solid thick handle, a basket for the coffee and a space for the water to be poured. On its front it sported a lone button. That’s it!

The simplicity was enough to make me want to weep. The price tag showed the regular value at $39.99 but as serendipity would have it a sale was afoot offering the simple pot at a simple price of $19.99 — practically the same as the replacement carafes we had wanted to buy!

The only thing I can find wrong with it is that it doesn’t have an automatic shut off. Though I have to admit the auto shut off on our last machine drove me crazy. It felt like I had barely made coffee before the thing was beeping about shutting down.

I was forever arriving for another cup of coffee only to find the lights were off and the coffee was cold.

Still, it was nice to leave the house and not have that heart-hammering moment when I just knew I had left the coffee pot on and the house was in flames.

Holidays are the worst. I can’t count the number of times I have made Darcy turn around so I could check on one small appliance or another. I once read a quip about another long suffering spouse who, a few miles into their vacation, heard his wife gasp out her habitual holiday statement of, “We have to go back! I think I left the iron on!” Without a word he pulled over to the side of the road, got out, opened the trunk and took out the iron.

Shannon McKinnon is a syndicated humour columnist from Northern BC.  Read more of her writing by visiting

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