1. In 1993 we registered for twelve blue-and-white coffee cups from William-Sonoma. We received a gift box with eleven blue-striped cups and, like an ugly duckling, one with a stripe of green. Green Stripe always sat in the back, used only for a crowd, if we really needed twelve cups – until Josie came along and decided it was special, it was the lucky cup. The renamed Lucky Green isn’t pictured – he’s busy holding her ice cream, or tea, or hot chocolate. Now he’s a swan.
2. That is one big Kansas Jayhawks mug. It originally belonged to a friend, a friend who asked me to edit and proofread his dissertation, his 300-page, ten-years-in-the-making, bone-dry military history dissertation. I drank gallons of late-night coffee from that mug, pencil in hand, and when all was said and done he got a PhD – and I got the mug.
4. Polly’s Pancake Parlor in Sugar Hill, New Hampshire resides in my pantheon of breakfasts: buckwheat waffles, cob-smoked bacon, bracing coffee and maple sugar, maple butter, maple syrup, maple heaven – all from right down the road.
5. I’ve had this butterflied mini-mug as long as I can remember, which is – ahem – at least the early 70′s. It held everything from root beer to Lipton tea to coffee nabbed from dad’s bigger mug. Today I don’t think of it as child-sized; it’s espresso-sized.
6. Oh Maine Diner of Wells, Maine. We were in such a crustacean daze after your meaty lobster rolls and melted butter, we sprung for a mug.
7. Once upon a time, long ago when Josie was not a supercool 14-year-old, she marched into a glaze-your-own ceramics shop and boldly painted the word DAD. It’s been Greg’s number one mug ever since, enjoying permanent favored status in the front row. The bottom reads Love, Josie – which is code for “break this, and feel bad for life.”
8. Greg’s brother Stephen and his wife, Swedish-born Moa, live in Stockholm. When Josie was 8 or 9 she fell hard for the charming Moomintroll books by Swedish-Finn author Tove Jansson, and the Scandinavian connection proved especially useful in obtaining cute mugs and other Moomin-shwag.
9. Are you true to Anne of Green Gables, like me and Josie? If you get misty saying “Marilla’s cordial” and “Gilbert Blythe,” this souvenir is for you. My mom visited Canada’s Prince Edward Island last year and dropped by the real Green Gables, part of author Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Cavendish National Historic Site. I want to go. For now I’ve got a mug.
10. I spent a good chunk of my childhood collecting penguins, and here’s what it taught me: people might forget your name, but never your collection. And you will spend the rest of your life thanking said well-meaning people for penguin keychains and figurines and mugs. You can pack it all away and wait for people to forget – but keep out the mugs. They’re darn useful penguins.
11. I may or may not have stolen this cup from a restaurant in Falun, Sweden. I’m sure you’ve never nabbed anything from a restaurant. Have you?
That concludes our mug shot. Have a lovely weekend, and tell me – what’s in your cabinet?