Bonding over muddy boots and hot coffee

“When is this coffee going to be ready?” A slim man who kind of looks like a shaggier Tom Skerritt, paces around a damp picnic table at Camp Alpine. He is wearing the same beat up Jets t-shirt and gray sweat pants he always wore on those Sunday mornings as we prepared to break camp. Soon he would take the blue enamel coffee pot off of the propane burner and pour himself what would be the first of many cups of coffee he would drink that morning.

My old scoutmaster Lee wasn't tired, he just loved the taste of a hot cup of coffee on a cool fall morning. Or a frigid cold winter morning. You get the drift. To him it was part of the camp experience. And for me it was a rite of passage. At home my mother was, and is, an enthusiastic coffee drinker. But I never wanted to drink coffee at home. But I could picture myself, standing around in muddy boots with the men enjoying a cup of coffee with the crackle of last night’s fire still audible.

We had a rule back then, and still do now, that only adults are allowed to drink coffee on Troop outings.

Soon after my eighteenth birthday, our troop was at the annual Trailblazer District Wint-o-Ree. It was cold with a little bit of snow on the ground. I was, and am, an early riser at camp. When I woke up, Lee was already awake making his morning coffee. He told me to grab a camp cup. He poured me some coffee. He had milk and sugar on hand, because he drank his coffee regular, and apparently so did I. Now, that I use higher quality coffee like Folgers® Coffeehouse Blend, as opposed to whatever we had left over from the pancake breakfast, I skip the sugar so I can enjoy the smooth yet bold taste.

Without the distraction of the boys and the day's competition. We talked about a lot of things. What he expected of me as an Assistant Scoutmaster. That morning I got so many words of wisdom that #shouldbeonacoffeemug probably enough to fill an entire kitchen cabinet with coffee mugs. And then we just shot the breeze, until he made a loud proclamation that the entire cabin could hear, about when was breakfast going to start. After that day, when a future marine would be dragged underneath a sledge that was being pulled by his fellow scouts as he yelled at them not to stop till they passed the finish line, my morning cups of coffee were just part of camping. I wasn't getting words of wisdom on how to be an adult scouter.

As the years went by and I rose in the ranks of our troop’s hierarchy, I remember many times sitting by the fire talking to a newly minted Assistant Scoutmaster and passing along my “wisdom” over a cup of coffee. For some it went in one ear out the other. Others took it to heart. It was in those moments that scout leaders become friends. No longer kid and adult, but two adults talking as equals. Just I like I was that morning with Lee.

Flash forward a few years, and I am that Scoutmaster impatiently waiting for a pot of Folgers Coffeehouse Blend to percolate in that same coffee pot, as the scouts slept, in their tents, leantos or in the cabin. Coffee at camp was never about getting a buzz or cstaying awake, it was about savoring the flavors and the moments. Those quiet moments when you can hear a woodpecker in the distance, or see a few deer walk by, you look at them, and they look at you.

These were the times that camping is perfect, and despite being a few minutes away from “civilization” you can be one with nature. You, your thoughts, and a steamy cup of coffee in your mug.

For more information and ideas on ways to enjoy Folgers Coffeehouse Blend be sure to follow Folgers on Twitter and like them on Facebook

This is a sponsored post on behalf of J. M. Smucker Company. I received compensation for this post; however, all opinions stated are my own.

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