We have recently delved back into the realm of hosting events on our little homestead. We have not done much of that since we moved to our forever home during the era of quarantines. When we have a group of people coming, I break out the old faithful drip coffee pot. (At least until I get the fancy thing on my wish list, but that does not come before fences.) When it is cold, I will also have hot chocolate or apple cider as options for those who prefer to avoid the caffeine or do not like coffee. All of those treats usually call for a coffee mug.
I am a collector of eclectic and sentimental coffee mugs. I have purged my collection down to what will fit in one shelf in my kitchen and one shelf in my china cabinet, so we have been selective about what we keep. We have the blue glass mug that had been Bret’s in his bachelor days, and we have mugs given to us by family members. I have two personal favorites, one being an obscenely large mug that reads, “messy bun & getting stuff done.” That is my go-to mug on those all-day kinds of days when you know you will need extra caffeine to keep up the pace. My other, ultimate favorite mug is a sentimental purchase from Bret’s and my anniversary trip when we celebrated the ten-year mark. It is a handmade clay mug that just fits perfectly in your hands – you know, the ones that just make you want to sit on a porch at a cabin in the Smokies with a steamy cup of coffee to watch the sun rise. The kids have a few favorites as well, and they will always gravitate to those on bonfire nights.
People watching is a habit that I find interesting and educational. One thing I notice when we have larger groups of people over is what coffee mug each person chooses. We have no continuity to the mugs we use, so it entertains me to see what style each personality gravitates toward. Some people go for the most traditional type of mug available, which is hardest to find in my cabinet. Kids love the Belle, Lego, or Superman. Friends that have enjoyed coffee and card nights in our younger years tend to grab the older mugs that we have kept, and I have wondered if they remember them as well or if it is a subconscious sentiment. Either way, it consistently happens. When people go for my hand-crafted clay mugs that are usable art, I always notice. Something in my soul feels an instant camaraderie boost with those folks, maybe even without cause. But here is why: Something inside of me feels that appreciating one-of-a-kind, unique, and artful expression is essential to a fulfilling life. When I see someone else make that choice, whether or not it was purposeful, I feel like they value that as well. It is almost as if, when we use those mugs, we validate the original artist even though they will never know.
Even though we have our favorite of the favorites, the truth is that we have kept each coffee mug with specific intention. It may be a little nutsy to care about them, but it is more about the memories they represent. They are each different and have special reasons that they earned a spot in the home, and, like the coffee mugs (but obviously more important than the mugs), each person that chooses one is different and special to our lives for their unique reasons. With each inch we gain back to a normalcy around us, I find a new level of appreciation for the simplest things. One thing I want to forever embrace from this season is just how much we should value the people in our lives.