The Story of a Mug

September 24, 2012 Candace Morris 1 Comments

It looks like an ordinary plain ol' diner mug.  Actually, that's exactly what it is.  But for me, the matching set of heavy white porcelain mugs holds a story, one that attaches me to the mugs forever.

Things for things' sake is never my goal.  However, when things you own carry bits of your life story, stories you never wrote down or forgot to remember, then they are worth more than their own monetary value.  But when you pick up the book, mug, or vase - suddenly you are transported...standing frozen in the living room as your memory takes control of all motor functions.  Oh, I love that.

In college, my best friend Jackie and I would take road trips to Ashland, Oregon.  The Oregon Shakespeare Festival resides there, and it was only a 2.5-hour drive form Redding, California, where we went to school and shared an apartment.  In fact, we did this so many times, I've lost count.  My favorite time of year to travel to Ashland was during Fall.  Shakespeare cries for Autumn, and I answered that call as best I could.  How we as college students ever afforded the expensive tickets, gas, and food is beyond me.

I have a lingering suspicion that I owe Jackie a lot of money from that time in our friendship.  

We would be sure to arrive early to make a day of it. By 'a day of it,' I mean food.  FOOD.  We have had so many amazing meals, more and more decadent as our pocketbooks grew to adult sizes. 

A few times we even stayed the night in a modest hotel.  It was during one of these weekends that we walked cheerily into a diner on the main street.  I couldn't even tell you the name of it, much less recognize it if we went back.  It was relatively empty, which was fine by us. We may have still been a bit inebriated from our pre and mid-play wine. We were on a quest for dessert and coffee. 

Dessert and coffee is our thing.  I mean, aside from wine, dance parties, hot tubs, road trips, scorching summers, sneaking candied apples into plays, food fights, and hysterical laughter  - often about something not even remotely funny to others in attendance (we've endured many a sideways, albeit loving, look from her husband).  So, aside from all of those other things, dessert and coffee is our thing.

It was the perfect mug.  I begged to be ours.  It was the quintessential, vintage diner mug.  It was so heavy and had this slight hourglass curve to it, just the right size for your hand to slip through the handle and cuddle the heat of the entire mug (I've never seen Jacks hold a mug by its handle).  It also had the cutest little matching creamer.  We had to have them, and we said as much in between bites of bread pudding and chocolate cheesecake.  

Jackie said quietly, "Let's steal them."  I was shocked!  (You see, despite my surly demeanor, inside I am a rather huge weenie, bound and chained to societal rules and scared as hell of being caught.  However, Jackie has this devilish streak about her, which is just about the most surprising thing, since she is really good.  Like, really good inside.  But that girl, despite being so outwardly innocent-looking, sweet, kind, and shamelessly giving, is anything but insipid.  She has this secret underbelly that almost no one has access to - one of the great privledges of my life).

Despite my pusillanimity, I queried her on the logistics of the operation.  How would it work?  Would we pay for our meal and THEN sneak them into our backpack?  If I was going to be a criminal, I was going to be an organized one, damn-it. What's the plan?!

I don't remember Jackie's answers to these asks.  My guess is that she simply just asked the server about them.  Was the set for sale, and how much?  Though an obviously odd request, the server went into the back and then reappeared with the box containing two mugs and a creamer.  I am actually not even sure if we paid for them, or if she just gave them to us because we were so darn charming, AND because we followed the rules, I might point out.  Somewhere in the subsequent 15 years, we decided I would own the mugs, and Jackie would retain the little creamer.  

As I sip black coffee out of that mug this morning, and as I wait for Bowie's nap in order to call Jackie for our bimonthly chat, I think nostalgically, fondly, even weepily of that time in our lives.  I think I'll watch 'Much Ado about Nothing' tonight, perhaps even while sipping out of the almost-stolen mug.

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