In the 15 years I had the privilege of knowing him, I don't know how many cups of coffee I drank with my father-in-law. We drank them in our living rooms and yards. We drank them in cafes and restaurants. We drank them on job sites where he and I carpentered together. We had a lot of what my son called "coffee talk", when he was still Bull's little buddy. ("Bull" is what Joshua called his grandpa very early on. We're not sure why, but it stuck.)
As I watched Curtis deteriorate with age and alzheimer's, knowing that his time with us was rapidly slipping away, those occasional cups became more and more important. Our predictable small talk was not so small anymore. His gruff and sometimes unpleasant demeanor was not so unpleasant anymore. His irritating quirks were not so irritating anymore. As he detached more and more from this life, I attached more and more to him.
I don't remember every last cup of coffee I drank with Curtis, but I remember the last cup I drank with him. As he sat in his recliner, I poured his cup of coffee and "ruined" mine (that's what he said I did with my cream and sugar). He didn't want much - only half of a cup. As we sat there chatting, I had to keep reminding him that he had coffee so that he would drink it while it was hot (it always had to have that hot bite for him to drink it). I'm not sure he drank it all even then. I finished mine not knowing that would be my last cup with him. With every cup along the way, I knew that last cup was coming, and it came and went far too quickly, two weeks before he passed away, a little over a year ago.
I don't know if there will be coffee in Christ's kingdom on the new earth, but I hope so. I love coffee (almost as much as Curtis), and it would be nice to drink a perfect cup of coffee with a perfect Curtis. Maybe he'll be glad to see that I won't need to "ruin" it (and that I won't be ruined anymore).
However, whether I ever get to drink another cup of coffee with Curtis or not, there is another cup I look forward to drinking with him forever: not a cup of Joe, but a cup of joy. Around that cup, I look forward to not one more but infinitely more conversations with Curtis about all the good gifts of God and God Himself, in that timeless age when we will be ageless and sinless. If David could speak of his cup overflowing on this old earth (Psalm 23:5), how much more our cups must overflow on the new earth in paradise restored. And we will never drink that cup down because the fountain will never run dry, while our time together will never run down in the sweet by and by.
If you have a memory of a loved one you would like to share, feel free to do so in a comment below.