“Hello Anton, nice to see you; come in, come in,” Ludwig cheerfully greeted the old man who stood at the door.
He led him straight into the warm farmhouse kitchen, where a wood-burning stove heated the whole room and most of the rest of the house as well.
“Ludwig, I need your help,” he said once he was seated.
The farmer looked at him and put a milky coffee down in front of him.
“Of course, what do you need? Anything broken?”
Since Ludwig’s parents had died, Anton Stopfer and his late wife had basically adopted him as a grandson. Now the two of them looked after each other and their respective neighbouring farms.
”No, no. It’s just, I can feel it coming,” he broke off to take a sip of coffee. “Holy cow! What sort of brew is that?”
“Espresso with milk,” Ludwig explained.
The adventures he had been on had led him to meet a young lady who taught him the ins and outs of coffee. Though her heart was never destined to be his, her passion for coffee remained with him.
“Devil’s brew, fancy Italian nonsense. Nothing’s wrong with a good pot of filter coffee,” he grumbled.
“Of course not,” the young man smiled, “but tell me, what do you feel coming, other than a major grump.”
“Time, Ludwig, my time has come.”
“Oh, don’t say that Anton. You’re as fresh as a spring chicken!”
“No, my boy, I am serious. I think this will be my last Christmas.”