The Magic Afternoon Cup | Mark’s Remarks - Republic-Times | News

The Magic Afternoon Cup | Mark’s Remarks

By on December 20, 2017 at 9:30 am

You are going to think I’m totally silly, and probably rather unhealthy. I’ve just discovered something that has changed my early evenings: an afternoon coffee break. 

Many of you already discovered it and you didn’t tell me.

I recently started taking a thermos of coffee to school, which my younger friends make fun of.

“My grandpa used to do that,” they sneer. 

I’m not ashamed. They can kiss my posterior.

The coffee stays nice and snug all morning. I enjoy a few slurps throughout the morning but usually feel the need to go zap the cup in the microwave sometime around mid-morning when students are doing their four-minute class switch. Cold coffee is not friendly coffee.

Still, that last bit of coffee languishes in the thermos and was usually poured out in the sink or even outside before I took it home to wash out. A few days ago, I got into the habit of warming that last bit up, usually enough for one more cup. My new habit usually took place around 2:15 p.m. or so.

I started to realize how much more productive I was into the late afternoon/early evening hours.

Michelle, if working later, asks me to start dinner and I no longer grumped and moaned like an ungrateful teenager. I happily buzzed around the kitchen, cleaned up, helped with homework, and did some of the household chores without dread or the feeling I’d rather hit the recliner.

After supper, the kitchen was cleaned up, good conversation followed, and evening activities were carried out. On evenings when we had to be outside the house, there were cheerful rides to and fro, purposeful errands run with a pleasant sense of productiveness, and a general joy in life, even with mundane things like paying bills and running to pick up a gallon of milk.

For some time now, I have wished to get the t-shirt that says “I’m just waiting to see if my morning coffee uses its power for good or evil.”  Funny, but there’s a lot of truth in that statement.  One who fuels up on coffee every morning feels terribly cheerful and in the mood to spread goodwill. However, there are also those days when we feel like playing pranks and participating in all types of mischief.

It never occurred to me that an afternoon coffee break could bring about an evening of joy and wonder and productivity. I can’t believe I didn’t think of it sooner. Sometimes I go home and prepare for the next day. I iron my clothes. I put out my backpack and car keys in a good “scoop up” place.  I spend time making a healthy lunch. I turn down the bed and charge my phone ahead of time. I have gone so far as to put a dollop of toothpaste on my toothbrush in anticipation of an early bedtime.

Being ready for the next day and having my ducks in a row is a good feeling. The evening is more relaxed. Quality time with everyone in the house is more possible. Sitting at the end of the couch, grading papers or taking care of any task is much easier when everything else is finished.

All because of a second cup of warmed-up coffee.

Mark Tullis

Mark is a 25-year veteran teacher teaching in Columbia. Originally from Fairfield, Mark is married with four children. He enjoys reading, writing, and spending time with his family, and has been involved in various aspects of professional and community theater for many years and enjoys appearing in local productions. Mark has also written a "slice of life" style column for the Republic-Times since 2007.