Every morning, I head downstairs, hit the button on the coffee maker, stoke up the wood stove and wait for the coffee to drip into the pot allowing me to raise a cup and welcome the day. I go through phases with my coffee cup of choice--somehow the cup seems to reflect where I am in life at any given time. For the last six months, it has been a cup from the Appalachian Trail Cafe in Millinocket. The cup is white with the cafe's name and a logo, tastefully drawn with thin red lines, on the front and the words "Friends gather here" on the back. The cup has a thin lip that feels good on my mouth and is just the right size for the first morning cup. It's an easy cup to face in the morning, it doesn't draw attention to itself or demand that I drink more or less coffee than I want in that first dose. If the cup is dirty when I wake up, I wash it while the coffee drips. If it has been carried into A's room with a bedtime cup of juice, I creep in and remove it from his bedside. The cup is an important first step in my day and without it--who knows where the day would go?
The first cup that I got attached to was a gift from a boss in 1982. It was a white cup, wider and larger than my current cup. My boss, Dr. Sjogren from the University of Vermont, brought it back as a gift after going on a trip to Germany and it had a scene of a German town on it with two spires rising above the buildings and I think a little bridge between the spires. I used that cup daily through all the lean years--I wasn't a coffee drinker initially but I must have drunk tea and hot chocolate from it. After my UVM days, the cup traveled along as I had moved to Pittsburgh and then San Antonio and then Tennessee and then Washington, DC until finally one sad day while living in Iowa and walking Angus early in the morning with my cup of coffee in one hand and his leash wrapped around the other hand, a car drove by and Angus jerked the leash and the cup flew out of my hands and broke on the ground. That must have been in 1994 or 1995--quite a long run for a cup with daily use and that many moves--but I mourned it greatly--the cup had seen me through the births of four children and innumerable insomniac nights. It was the one consistent thing for me through all the moves and after each move, while unpacking, I knew things would be alright once I removed the newspaper from my pretty German cup and put it on the counter.