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”
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
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
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
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.