Groucho Marx wrote he sometimes had coffee with his friend, Milton Berle.  Mr. Berle liked coffee, and how well it was made effected his whole demeanor. Groucho once came to congratulate his friend on his successful show only to discover Mr. Berle looking low as if his dog had died. Why? The coffee was lousy.  Another time when Mr. Berle’s career and stocks were spiraling down, but he found MB quite cheerful, happy as a clam at high tide. You guessed it: the coffee was hot and it had been made well his satisfaction.

I would like to think my demeanor is based on the ‘big picture’ and not the little things, but I know I have mood-determining matters like Mr. Berle and his coffee. Let’s list a few.

Beverages.  Like Mr. Berle and his coffee, a well made cup of tea* (hot or cold) or a proper-made cocktail (no rubbish) sets the scene for a good meal or social.  I’ve learned not to order hot tea in restaurants as nobody here in The States knows how to make one properly. I am wary of ordering certain drinks in certain bars or restaurants lest the bar staff doesn’t know what they are doing.   By the way, a nice hot cup of tea is the panacea for all bad moods and ills. Do not dare to question this.

Laundry. Someone is quick to point out my moods and attitude are greatly influenced by the levels of laundry and its status. If the laundry is done, folded, and put away, my consequential insouciance is impervious until the dirty duds drawer starts filling up again.

Thunderstorms.  Many folks (most?) become disconsolate in rainy weather but Urs Truly invariably cheers up at the sight of such, even to the point of excitement if there is thunder. Even as a boy I received a pending thunderstorm with all the excitement of Christmas morning.  I get cheerful at the mere memory of some whoppers from my youth. The rainstorms in Arizona are called ‘monsoons’. They don’t last long and they seldom have thunder. Unlike Midwest America proper storms that roll in portending  doom, they start suddenly and right from above. They are a big page 71.


Rolling down grass hills.  This is an activity that seldom if ever fails to make even the gloomiest of days brighten with the radiance of a brilliant sunrise.  While tea, cocktails, clean clothes, and thunderstorms can be disappointing, rolling down grass hills never does. Even a little roll is better than no roll, and the slope does not matter too much. 

Come to think of it, this is the panacea of all ills and not a hot cup of tea, although the later is more available and less likely to stain the clothes resulting in more laundry.