The Gift of Five Death Wishes
by Donna McLaughlin Schwender
Pete Fountain is our Black Lab mix. What he’s mixed with we have no clue. Something that reduced his size to around 45 pounds, give or take a few. He was actually a stray that was named by the Kentucky shelter volunteer who found him wandering and who happened to love the Jazz musician with the same moniker. Tim, being the owner of a water gardening store, loves the fact that “fountain” is part of his name. I just love that he ended up as part of our family in upstate New York. How that happened is a long story, but the bottom line is that I’m pretty certain Pete is happy to be here too.
However, there is one thing that I know he hates. No, DESPISES would be the better descriptor. People who deliver packages to our front porch INFURIATE him. No matter where he is in the house, he always manages to hear the mail-lady, UPS man, or FedEx driver the second they pull into our driveway. Before Tim or I ever know what’s happening, he’s off and running full-tilt to the front door – barking so frantically he’s gagging on his own breath.
To make matters worse for the delivery person (unintentionally, of course), we have a couch located directly under the picture window that they have to walk past to get to the porch. Pete always manages to launch himself onto the top of the couch before they’ve even shifted into park. He runs the length of the couch as they hurl themselves past him and then he makes a return trip as he escorts them back to the safety of their vehicle. By the time they leave, Pete’s usually pretty entangled in the curtains and has left a trail of foamy spittle on each window pane.
Saturday, Pete and I were peacefully relaxing on the couch enjoying the heat from the nearby pellet stove. Unfortunately, our mail-lady attempted to quietly deliver a box while we were there. She never stood a chance. Luckily, I saw her coming, but I still didn’t have enough time to distract Pete before he woke up from his warm slumber. She did her normal “toss-tuck-and-run” as I waved to her with one hand (we haven’t had to sign for a package since Pete arrived on the scene in 2008), the other hand trying to keep Pete from slamming his 45-give-or-take-a-few-pounds against the windows.
The next step of this hate-filled routine involves having to wait a few minutes after the delivery person has left the premises before I attempt to go out the front door and onto the porch. Even then, I have to do some serious shape-shifting to slither through the narrow crack I give myself in order to keep Pete from shooting past me. At least when I come back in the door, I have a box to act as a shield against him. His attention then immediately shifts to needing to know what goodies await him inside the package.
As I cut open Saturday’s unexpected delivery, Pete started sneezing uncontrollably and I started involuntarily drooling from the smell that engulfed us like a tidal wave as it was released from the folds of tissue paper. It was COFFEE!!! Not just regular ole coffee, though. This was DEATH WISH COFFEE – marketed as “The World’s Strongest Coffee” and manufactured only three hours northeast of us. Five heaven-scented K-cups were lovingly tucked inside a monster-size mug (I’m guessing about 30 ounces). You can’t see it in the photo, but the inside of the carafe-masquerading-as-a-cup is a beautiful, glossy red (my absolute favorite color). That glorious smell mixed with such a luscious hue warmed me more than the pellet stove had managed to do all morning.
Never have death wishes been more happily received as a gift. Thank you to my dear cousin, Barb, who shares my infatuation with coffee, but who’s obviously far smarter than I am as she imbibes on decaf while I’m swilling caffeine until my heart threatens to explode (which usually starts to happen after only three cups – what can I say; my body is a freaking wuss).
Interestingly, the only thing I remember Tim mentioning to me after this year’s Super Bowl was over (he watches it mostly for the commercials and I happily don’t watch any of it) was the 30-second commercial that Intuit Quickbooks had “awarded” to a small business this year. That commercial was won by Death Wish Coffee. Of course, I had to immediately Google it and learn more about the company. I’m not a huge fan of strong coffee (flavored coffee has pretty much made me its bitch), but I liked that Death Wish supposedly wasn’t bitter and that it even had “subtle notes of cherry and chocolate.” I never really envisioned ordering it, but I sure was happy to see it in the box on Saturday.
Of course, being the wuss that I am, I made Tim try it first. I had two sips of it and was pleasantly surprised that it lived up to its description. The next morning, I asked him if he’d liked it and he unhesitatingly informed me that, “It cleaned me out good.” Hey – he shared it with me, so I just wanted to share it with all of you (you’re welcome!).
I still haven’t been brave enough to drink an entire cup by myself, but if and when I do, I’ll make sure I have the 9 and 1 already entered into my phone and my finger ready to push the other 1 at the first tremor of trouble. Until then, the other four K-cups are acting as potpourri for our entire house – and they’re in a sealed Ziploc bag – tucked away in a kitchen cabinet. Yeah…it’s THAT strong. I’m in Heaven and Pete doesn’t even know what he’s missing. He’s too busy guarding the porch from the next box-wielding intruder. Perhaps I should gift each of them with a Death Wish of the “non-furry” variety for all of the harassment they’ve endured over the years of delivering to us. If anyone deserves a stiff drink, it’s definitely them…