The immediate (practical purpose of drinking a cup of coffee is to wash the biscuit down. Its proximate (ethical) purpose is the intimate communion of, say, cowboys (they do exist; Will James was right!) standing around the sullen campfire in a drenching rain, water curling off Stetsons, over slickers, splashing on the rowels of spurs, as they draw the bitter liquid down their several throats into the single moral belly of their comradeship. The remote (political) purpose of coffee at the campfire, is the making of Americans—born on the frontier, free, frank, friendly, touchy about honor, despisers of fences, lovers of horses, worshipers of eagles and women.… The ultimate purpose is spiritual. For a boy to drink a can of coffee with cowboys in the rain is, as Odysseus said* of Alcinous’s banquet, something like perfection.
- “You notice the great, strange world!”
- Strive as Translator to Convey the Image
- Resting in knowledge “limpid as pure air”…
- The Holidays: Cowboys, Coffee, and Wily Odysseus
- Correcting Children
- “Bear with me: I am by nature inclined to anger.”
- Odysseus, that endured much, sleeps.
- Augustine’s Providential Digression
- Merlin’s Last Days, by Greg Krehbiel [Review]