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A Tale of Two Pots
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At our house we worship coffee. How can anyone wake up properly without coffee? Or work, or relax? And who could retire for the night without a last soporific shot of the dark elixir?

Mary and I need our coffee but making sure it's always there when we need it, which is almost always, has been a problem. We don't like drip coffee makers. There's all that messing with bags and removable, breakable beakers and in the end they never brew hot enough. Coffee without heat is almost as much an abomination as coffee without caffeine. Besides it is such an insipid way to produce an inspired beverage. Drip drip drip....

We use electric percolators. Coffee was meant to perk, not drip. (Everything I need to know about coffee I learned from an ancient Maxwell House television advertisement) My lazy neurons start firing at the first sounds of bubbling and gurgling from inside the pot.

The trouble is, our electric percolators are expensive and oddly short lived. Surely they are designed to remain plugged in every hour of every day? Sometimes they expire in an explosion of sparks, putting off all the lights downstairs. More often they just sullenly refuse to produce anything beyond tepid swamp water. Usually it isn't a crisis. We keep a spare pot around in case disaster should strike when we snowed in during winter. Doesn't everyone?

Our current percolator has managed to flummux us. It has entered a zombie-like state, not truly dead but not totally alive. The first time it's plugged in you get hot water. After the water cools, a second brew yields rust-tinted liquid. On the third reheating the coffee finally appears. Which is all very annoying. Third time's the charm be damned. We want out coffee and we want it now!

So I found a stove top percolator. They aren't easy to find around here, which is to say Wal-Mart doesn't carry them. It's beautiful in its simplicity. No moving parts. In addition to hearing the inspiring sounds of perking coffee, we can see it bubbling up bravely into the glass bulb in the lid.

And now we no longer have to fret about having hot coffee if the electricity goes off. I'm sleeping a lot better lately. Or at least I'm not worrying so much while lying in bed totally wired.

As for the electric percolator -- it's still on the counter, brewing in its own leisurely fashion. We can hardly throw out a device that produces coffee, no matter how slowly. That would be sacrilege.

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