A young fun-loving 10-year old boy awakens in the sleepy island town of 1945 Key West. Walking the cracked sidewalks from Pa’s house, a joyful thought “It’s one day closer to summer” spurs the arrival to his assigned one-piece desk.
The mundane daily routine of reading, writing and arithmetic are interrupted at noon with a whiff of eye-opening pleasure through the hand-cranked windows. The fresh scent’s sleep intoxicating properties entice an ill-advised midday nap as the ever-nearing class bell signaling the end of studies draws nearer. With school now over he’s free to follow the daylong mesmerizing scent street by street. Reaching the source he peers in a window taking in a long deep breath sighing ‘Ahhh’ to the smell of freshly hand-ground coffee beans. Too young to drink coffee at the time, 68 years later my uncle would finally tell his story as I was drinking mine.
Though air-filled aromas of Colombian dark roast and sounds of hand-cranked coffee grounds are treasured memories of a faded past, its structure survives evolved in tune with today’s fit-conscious generation. The sight of scantily dressed ‘HOT’ aerobic babes and sounds of Yoga’s sacred chant ‘Om’ now furnish the next young school boy a tantalizing tale to pass along to his future nephew.
You can find Key West’s Old Coffee Mill still standing proudly marked at 916 Pohalski Street near the dead center of town in the city I love.