Iron Mountain ski jump

Iron Mountain ski jump

Wednesday, February 21, 2018


CHRIST IN WINTER: Reflections on Faith and Life from a Place of Winter for the Years of Winter…

The trailer on the bottom of the TV screen said something about California getting ready to declare that coffee is a cancer risk. I know no more than that. I don’t intend to follow up to learn more.

That’s one of the great things about being old: just because something is there to know doesn’t mean you need to know it.

Another great thing is that you can say: So what? I’m old. I’m going to die from something. It might as well be while doing something I love, like drinking coffee.

When my father was in his 90s, the doctor told him he had to stop crossing his legs, because of circulation problems. He said, “But I can’t drink coffee without crossing legs.” He had his priorities.

Besides, it’s California. They do all sorts of crazy things there. Probably just trying to get people to stop drinking coffee so they’ll drink more wine. Also, as with almost every health study, there are other studies that say coffee is good for you.

I know that any good thing can be overdone. Dee Lemkau in her middle years realized she was getting nervous and irritable. She counted up her cups of coffee one day. Twenty-two! She was home all day. She liked coffee. When the pot ran out, she brewed another. She said, “It was just a habit, taking that cup to my mouth. I had no idea how many times I did it.”

Before it is a habit, though, coffee is an acquired taste. When I dropped out of high school and went to work on the night shift in the Potter & Brumfield factory, sitting in front of a big bright light to test and adjust electrical relays, I began to drink coffee out of the machine. The only choices were 20W-30 and 30W-30. [1] But I needed to stay awake. I got used to it. I began to like it.

When we married, Helen used cream and sugar in her coffee. No McFarland ever diluted a cup of coffee. That contradicts the Commandment against adultery. She finally decided it was just easier to drink it black. She has never looked back.

Coffee is known as “the common cup of Methodism.” We don’t use wine in communion. We don’t use coffee for communion, either, but we use it for community.

The main thing on a winter morning is to have a cup of something warm. Maybe share a cup of something warm. A cup of kindness will do nicely.


1] These are actually viscosity counts for motor oil. You get the point.

Spoiler Alert: If you have read this column in the last 3 months, all that follows is old news:

I tweet occasionally as yooper1721.

The “place of winter” mentioned in the title line is Iron Mountain, in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula [The UP], where life is defined by winter even in the summer! [This phrase is explained in the post for March 20, 2014.] Having met and married while at IU in Bloomington, IN, we became Bloomarangs in May of 2015, moving from Iron Mountain,  back to where we started, closing the circle. We no longer live in the land of winter, but I am in the winter of my years, and so I am still trying to understand Christ in winter.

Katie Kennedy is the rising star in YA lit. [She is also our daughter.] She is published by Bloomsbury, which also publishes lesser authors, like JK Rowling. Her latest book is, What Goes Up. It’s published in hardback, paperback, audio, and electronic, from B&N, Amazon, etc.

It’s neat; in writing circles, Katie is no longer known as my daughter. Now I am known as her father.

Speaking of writing, my most recent book, VETS, about four homeless and handicapped Iraqistan veterans, is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, BOKO, Powell’s, etc. It’s published by Black Opal Books.

Speaking of more writing, the full story of how God tricked me into becoming a professional Xn is in my book, The Strange Calling, published by Smyth&Helwys.

Speaking of even more writing, my book, NOW THAT I HAVE CANCER I AM WHOLE: Reflections on Life and Healing for Cancer Patients and Those Who Love Them is published by AndrewsMcmeel. It is available in paperback, ebook, audio, Czech, and Japanese.

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