My father’s old coffeemaker

Published 9:36 pm Saturday, June 28, 2014

By Dennis Edwards

I still have it. In fact I make coffee with it whenever the need for a cup of java arises.

My father’s coffeemaker has to be at least 60 years old. Yet it’s still percolating, still making some of the best coffee ever. It’s a G.E. Catalog No. 28342, made in Bridgeport, Conn. It packs 680 watts of pure percolating power.

Email newsletter signup

For some reason, when I use it, I feel like I’m having coffee with my Dad, even though he’s been gone now longer than he was alive.

Isn’t it funny what personal possessions of our parents we gravitate toward? Of everything he left behind, this coffee pot may be the nearest and dearest to me.

Don’t worry. My mind hasn’t percolated beyond sanity. I’ve just come to realize what this old coffee pot has symbolized over the years. I know it’s his, because my mother seldom drank brewed coffee. She liked the instant kind. There was also that look of sadness on her face whenever she handled it.

After dad died, mom put it in a cabinet, and it stayed there. On occasion it made what you might call a kind of guest appearance. But whenever its singular aroma steamed up, memories of my father came rushing back.

LeRoy T. Edwards Sr. was a journalist at heart, an accountant by vocation and a Christian to the core. That cup of coffee was right next to him at the kitchen table, along with the occasional Camel cigarette.

Investigative columnist Drew Pearson was his favorite journalist. By coincidence Pearson’s column used to appear opposite the “colored news” section in the Suffolk News-Herald. It was the section dad wrote and edited.

My father loved Pearson’s tenacity. With coffee cup in hand, he chuckled daily at his idol’s revelations. Maybe those chuckles and his delight stuck with me in ways I’d never considered. Decades later I became an investigative television journalist. I love having a cup of coffee at my right hand, a Remington Typewriter and later a computer in front of me and the latest story in my head and on my pad.

The coffee connection actually goes back to Grandma Elizabeth Edwards. My dad’s mother loved coffee, hot rolls and sausage. Her morning kitchen was a symphony of their blended aroma. My first taste of a cup of joe came at her kitchen table, just like it had for my dad. Who would ever guess something so simple could link generations in a spiritual way?

Real coffee pots, not the drip kind, make excellent life accessories. There’s something about the sound, the way the water shoots up, and then filters through over and over, that reminds me how the best things in life happen every day.

For years, I longed for some sign my dad was still with me in some way. Now, 53 years after his death, I sense his presence whenever I fire up that old percolator. It’s a tough old pot. But I handle it with care. It will be with me always.

When the time comes, I’ll give it to my son and tell him how it connects him to the wonderful grandfather and great-grandmother he never knew.

Dennis Edwards is an Emmy Award-winning television news reporter and anchor, He is a 1974 graduate of Suffolk High School. Email him at