Part of the moving-out process is getting rid of things. I’ve gotten rid of clothing, odds and ends, and reams and reams of paper. I’m trying to minimize. There’s not a ton of space in that little apartments, and besides, if I’m going to be mobile I need as little stuff as possible tying me down.
But I can’t bring myself to get rid of the mugs.
I’m a warm beverage person. I like hot tea and coffee. I drink both in abundance. And you can’t drink tea or coffee without a mug.
I have a medium-sized eclectic collection of mugs. Every time I pull one from the cabinet, the sight of it and the feel of it in my hand brings back a host of pleasant memories.
Tonight’s choice is a Kelly green Fiesta Ware soup mug, or, as I have affectionately dubbed it, The Hobbit Hole Mug. (If you turn it upside down, it looks like a hobbit hole.) My parents bought it for me at a Mast General Store in North Carolina many, many summer vacations ago. It’s the mug I use when I need to think happy thoughts in spired by its bright color and associated dreams of North Carolina mountain breezes.
The mug I keep at my desk is the most ornate piece of pottery I’ve ever owned. It has a flared base that tapers before widening into a fuller shape, like the base of a fancy candelabra. It’s a deep cherry brown, except for the scrolled handle and rim, which is glazed in a dark metallic color. My friend gave it to me at my sixteenth birthday party, which was by far one of the awesomest parties I’ve ever been to. I use this mug when I need to think of my four closest friends, my dear sisters, with whom I’ve built so many castles in the clouds.
The mug I used for my morning coffee every day in the dorm is a simple, rounded square-rimmed mug with sloping sides and a simple, earthy brown-on-brown geometric design. When I received it, it had a blue plush bunny sitting inside it—an allusion to an acting role turned inside joke. It’s stable, warm, attractive, and surprising, much like the person who gave it to me. I use it whenever it’s not in the dishwasher.
There are so many more mugs, each full to the brim with memories. The black mug with my society’s Greek letters printed on it in green that I got as a freshman. The hand-warmer mug that has a pocket for your fingers instead of a handle that I wanted so badly and finally got for Christmas one year. The graduation gift I received from my employer. The purple mug with the spoon slot in the handle that matches mugs given to three of my other sisters.
It’s possible to sip a memory. I’ve tried and succeeded. Beautiful memories, like sips from a good cup of coffee, should be taken slowly.