Breakroom Memories from Edie Felts-Podoll

A story from Edie Felts-Podoll

Our break room at the Adams County Extension Office wasn’t really a break room.  No one came in to sit down or share a story, but we did slip in and out to get a fresh cup of coffee, which was important to the Extension Office.  I wasn’t a big coffee drinker but I thought as the new Home Economist, 22 years old, fresh out of college, wet behind the ears and a UW-Madison grad to boot; I needed to add a few years to my look so I thought a mug of coffee might help. So I would go get a cup or two each day.

The secretary of the time, Linda O’Dell, was a great coffee maker.  We knew that the first pot would be empty by 8:30 am and soon another would be bubbling, gurgling and popping.  After taking about 30 minutes, there would be coffee again.

The afternoon of my first Ag Committee Meeting, the Ag Agent Alex Richter said I would be in charge of making coffee for the evening meeting.  I stiffened and thought to myself “me make coffee? Me the UW-Madison graduate from the School of Family Resources and Consumer Sciences? Me a professional of the 70’s?”.  I was one of those Home Economics graduates that had embraced the idea “to make policy not coffee”-not missing a beat-I said “OK”.  As I left the room the coffee assignment started to bother me even more.  The evening meeting would begin at 8 pm and coffee would be important to those Ag Committee members.  The Committee consisted of 4 farmers and a small business owner and by 8 pm we all needed the caffeine that a good cup of coffee could provide.

Alex came into the break room at about 7:15 pm and smiled when he heard the coffee perking.  I immediately confessed, “Alex, I couldn’t find the coffee grounds so I used those that were in the pot and ran them through again”. He starred at me trying to determine if I were serious or not.  He then pulled the plug, picked up the pot and carried it out of the room not looking at me.

Good coffee was available for the Committee members when they arrived.  Neither Alex nor I ever mentioned the coffee incident but he never ever asked me to make coffee again.

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