Coffee in any other mug…

This morning I drank my coffee from my Alaska mug.

It doesn’t say Alaska anywhere on it, and I didn’t go to Alaska to get it. A friend of mine did, though. During a stint as a dentist in the bush areas, he found a potter he liked and a mug he said just looked like me.

That’s not why I chose that mug this morning, though. I’m really not sure why I did. Maybe it was the weather forecast of “hot and humid”

Mug 1

All the way from Alaska

that turned me toward a mug with a sassy shorebird strutting in front of black-and-white waves carved into the landscape. Maybe it was another, subliminal reason that had me reaching for that particular mug.

The point is, I don’t drink coffee from the same mug every day. I have lots to choose from, and once the coffee is brewed, it seems to taste better if I pour it into the day’s perfect mug. Sometimes the choice is made quickly; sometimes my hand hovers over first one and then another, considering, discarding, and finally choosing.

On Sundays it’s always my Corpus Christi mug, the one designed for the Catholic church where I attend Mass and live much of my life.  When my dog Lady died last fall, I drank coffee almost exclusively from any one of a number of beagle mugs I own, letting the

Mug 2

Given to me before I moved to Door County by a friend who no longer stays in touch.

photos of floppy-eared hounds soothe my grieving heart.

Many days, but especially if he’s away on a gig, I pick a mug with a picture of George and me on it. These are mugs sporting photos I had printed at Cafe Press : George, Lady and me on an autumn day at the state park, another of us with faces lifted from a photo, but with bodies of Christmas elves. So OK, I get a little goofy sometimes.

One I ordered from a writer’s magazine. “Writers Do It With Style,” it says in elegant white script flowing across a blue background. Another contains the logo of my alma mater, Michigan State University. A whimsical favorite I ordered for

Mug 4

I’m often in the mood for this one.

myself–a squirrel sitting up with a typical dopey squirrel expression on its face. “Excuse me,” it says. “Your bird feeder is empty.” Someone’s been peeking in my backyard.

Another my daughter got me: “Best Beagle Mom Ever,” it proclaims. Another from her is a shimmering dark blue, made by a potter she knows. A green one–my favorite color–proclaims my favorite coffee source: Door County Coffee & Tea.  A couple red ones from my sister-in-law blend in perfectly with my colorful Fiestaware. A black one traces in white the outline of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan where I bought it at a town called

Mug 3

To remind of Northeastern Minnesota where I once lived, my activities there–and the fact I really did shoot a bear.

Christmas. A terra-cotta mug with a pine tree etched into either side and painted green is from a local potter in my former home town.

My former home town is also represented by my “Lighthouses of Lake Superior” mug. On it, bright red and oh-so-familiar, is the Two Harbors, Minn., lighthouse (now a B & B, but still operating as a light station), with which I was thoroughly familiar because of the newspaper stories I’d done that involved it in one way or another.

And those are only a few. But you can see, I think, why each one is special, and why each one sits at the end of whatever heartstring is being tugged from one day to the next. Morning coffee time is about savoring the brew, savoring the mug, and acknowledging whatever mood or memory has greeted me at the start of each new day.

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About Monica Sawyn

I'm a retired newspaper reporter/columnist, and although I still freelance, I miss the weekly column I used to write. I still "see columns" in everyday life and need a place to put them after they're written--thus, this blog. I'm Catholic, have been a Benedictine oblate since 1977, and live with my husband and our beagle in Sturgeon Bay, Wis. When I'm not writing, I'm probably reading, sewing, taking photos or walking the dog.
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7 Responses to Coffee in any other mug…

  1. blb1 says:

    There is a blogger living at Martha’s Vineyard that design cups and having them made in England. As much as I’d like one I can’t reason myself into spending $35 for a porcelain mug. Not when I got an IHOP mug for $1.00 at our favorite IHOP.

    btw where do you keep all of your mugs?

    • Monica Sawyn says:

      I have one shelf in the cupboard that’s all mugs. Three or four are near the coffee pot, and three or four more with my regular dishes because there was a little extra space. But I think I’m out of room, so I have no idea what I’ll do if I find more I just can’t resist.

  2. Hi Monica, I too have a ritual with coffee mugs, but not quite as elaborate as yours. I have a “Sunday mug” and a “weekday mug.” Nice way to blend in the liturgical year. Hope your summer is going well. Eric

  3. Monica Sawyn says:

    I suppose if I were a little more just-enough Benedictine I wouldn’t have quite so many mugs, either. I think they’re a form of self-expression. Sounds good anyway, eh?

  4. Nell says:

    This post made me giggle … thank you! Quite a few of my mugs were gifts as well, so I would never want to say I have “too many” and considering getting rid of any of them! A mug becomes my favorite and I use it exclusively until something happens to it (i.e., broken, I leave it somewhere, etc.). A co-worker gave me an orange one that was regular height, but the brim was wide and I really, really liked it. Alas, the DH broke it when he was drying the dishes, so I went on a hunt for another regular height mug with a wide brim at the top. Phew, a difficult task! All of this to share that since it’s summer, my mug sits because I am having iced coffee in the morning! Nell

    • Monica Sawyn says:

      I have one cup of coffee in the morning, when it’s still cool, so I never have to give it up. And I look forward to that morning treat! I’ve had a few “precious” mugs broken by someone else, and I still think of them. That sounds silly as I write it.

  5. Nell says:

    Hee, hee … I feel your pain! I am a “one cupper” too, since it must contain half ‘n half and I don’t want to drink any more than that!

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