4:00 A.M. Coffee and Dark Chocolate


This is how it started. Rising at 4:00 a.m. Dark chocolate. Lucy came much later, after Susie, Chelsea, Bosco, Kita, Kianna, and Wrangler. Lucy does not get the dark chocolate and coffee. (She expects a variety of doggie treats.) The dark chocolate and coffee remain essential for my writing time, forty-two years of rising at 4:00 a.m. (sometimes 4:30; sometimes 5:00), a regimen that began when Katrina’s and my twin sons, Jon and Rob, were two-and-a-half-years-old, and I was just starting at Hardin-Simmons University, having been hired to begin a creative writing program, and also encouraged to publish poems in literary journals and magazines and maybe even publish a book or two or three. Since I didn’t want to miss out on evenings with my wife and my sons, getting up at 4:00 a.m. seemed my best option for quiet time to write.

Now I’m trying to comprehend retirement (since this May, 2019). Retirement is not for me. It’s especially not for Lucy, the most obsessive-compulsive, opinionated, bossy, herding dog of all our previous Australian Shepherds, also the most loving. She knows I’m supposed to get up at 4:00 a.m., let her outside, brew a carafe of coffee, break off a section of dark chocolate, let her back in the house, and give Lucy her handful of treats before settling down at my writing table. So I’m up each morning, a good thing. Maybe something good will come of it.

Here is the symbolic photo Lucy insisted I pose for and take. It’s her statement about my retired condition. She came up with the caption: “Bob Fink Through The Looking Glass: Stranger Things . . . . ” I think she’s got it. We’ll see what comes.