The doors open here at the Tri-City Times Monday through Friday at 7:15 every morning. By 7:30 the coffee is brewing and the first of the ‘coffee klatch curmudgeons’ begin showing up. It’s been that way for many years now, a tradition of sorts I suppose.

I acquired a taste for coffee from former editor, Dwight Jarrell. He liked his coffee black, thick as mud and strong enough to put a frown on your face from the very first sip. Dwight’s gone now, but the coffee has kept me in columns and news tips for a long time now.

I’m sure I should taper my coffee addiction down, but I’ll do that later. It can’t be healthy for me, although rest assured it will put an extra little get-up in anyone’s step.

Back to the ‘coffee klatch curmudgeons,’ a band of assorted men and occupations. I promised I wouldn’t use real names so as not to embarrass them. The group is smaller now, still don’t know if it was old age or the coffee. Occasionally others will stop to chat, but for the most part it’s the regulars.

Not unlike other coffee groups, we talk sports, politics and tales of days long gone. There is a great deal of good natured joking and kidding and sometimes serious debate over current events. For the most part it’s harmless drivel.

Always though, there are jokes made about my coffee. Names have been changed, but it went a little like this…

“Doc” was first in as usual and he poured a cup, took a sip, frowned and stomped his foot saying, “A little strong this morning. Is this three scoops or five?”

Then “Arlan” sits down and says, “Doc, what’s the problem? You look like you just took a sip of Randy’s coffee.”

“I did, wow!” still a wrinkle or two on his forehead. “I wonder if Randy’s birthday is a national holiday in Brazil?”

Arlan laughs, “Don’t know, but I did hear he answers the door before people knock at home.”

By then, “John” rounds the corner, grabs a cup of coffee and sits down taking a sip. Immediately he looks over at me and says, “You’re a sick man, this coffee is horrible.”

“Lou” shuffles in and notices “Doc” dumping his coffee out into the sink.

“Must be the coffee is a real treat today,” he says.

“The other day after a cup of this mud, I found myself forgetting to unwrap the candy bar before I ate it,” he joked.

Meanwhile, “Joe” joins our group, “Cup of coffee, Joe?” I ask.

“Hell no, you’d have to pay me to drink that stuff. Asphalt would taste better,” he replies rudely.

“Drank a cup the other day and was so wired, I had an urge to ski uphill,” chuckles Joe.

“That’s nothing, went home the other day and saw Randy helping his dog chase its tail,” says “Tom,” which brings a roar from the rest of the curmudgeons.

If nothing else, my coffee is good enough for a column when you can’t think of anything else to write about.