Posts Tagged With: coffee

Collecting Coffee Mugs

I’ve decided to collect coffee mugs. The other day, I was standing in line to purchase a coffee mug and some other merchandise from the Choose901 pop-up shop in Memphis when I decided that I am going to start collecting coffee mugs.

901 mug

Choose901 in Memphis

My mother collected coffee mugs. She had a make shift shelf where she displayed them at one end of the kitchen in the old house.

“The old house.” My siblings may have other names for the beloved, big house in Stanton, but that’s what I call it: the old house. It was almost a hundred years old when we moved into it. It was over a hundred years old when the folks moved out of it. It was well over a hundred years old when a June tornado swept it away.

I call it “the old house” because the house that the folks eventually moved into seemed like their new house; although, it was neither new nor a house when they moved into it.  I call it “the old house” because it’s where I grew up. I spent all but one year of my childhood there, all of my adolescence, and quite a few years of my adulthood living there. A lot of years drinking coffee in the kitchen of that old house.

My mother’s kitchen was rectangular. At one end, a window opened to the neighbor lady’s massive flower garden that, I like to think, my mother enjoyed, wishing she had the time and the energy to cultivate one of her own. She had too many children, too much to do to spend her time whiling away in a flower garden. My mother was practical like that.

At the other end of the kitchen was the make-shift coffee mug shelf where a door used to lead into a bedroom. When my father made the extra bedroom into a over-sized bathroom, he closed the door in from the other side with a piece of faux blue marble wood paneling. When in the kitchen, the door frame was left, but the opening was covered by the drab brown back of the paneling. My mother had Dad nail some left over 2x4s horizontally, making the doorway into a pocketed shelf to display her mugs. It wasn’t pretty, but it was useful.

I miss that kitchen. It wasn’t pretty, but it was more than useful. Life happened there. Sistering happened there.

Sisters around table

From left to right: #5, #8, #4, and me, #10. #7 isn’t pictured.

During family gatherings, usually Thanksgiving and Christmas, my sisters and I gathered around the brown, formica table drinking coffee or tea and talking about inappropriate things. From the looks of shock on my face and our body positions, #4 must have said something uproariously inappropriate for which I punched her in the shoulder. #8 is amused but keeping it to herself (no doubt a little later in the day one will be able to find the two of us sitting in a corner of the house discussing this exact moment) as #5 enjoys the moment.

The door directly behind #4 and me eventually was made into the pocketed shelf, but for this moment it is just a door. And we are just sisters.

It’s interesting what time will do. A door turns into a pocketed display shelf that one day disappears and is only now a memory.

We, the sisters, have changed with time, too. In this picture, we are younger versions of ourselves, some with husbands and kids, some without, connecting through advice, opinion, laughter, and coffee.

But soon, over time, the living of life changes relationships. There aren’t many pictures of this time. Advice is not sought. Opinions hurt. Laughter fades. Coffee cups are left empty. Pain is the tie that binds. We remain just sisters.

Then time does what time does best. It marches on. Each of us has to learn individual lessons about ourselves and about each other. Each of us has to learn how to reconnect with one another; how to let by-gones be by-gones and to let love be love. We can do it for others, so we learn to do it for each other.

This past Thanksgiving, we came together again over coffee around #4’s round oak table, my mother’s formica table long since lost but not forgotten. We are all a little nervous, but soon fall into an old familiar routine of chatting about inappropriate things, giving advice, offering opinions, and much missed laughter.

sisters 2015

Thanksgiving 2015                                                                                                        From left to right: Me (#10, #7, #4, #8, and #5)


It’s much easier now, being sisters. We have settled into our lives, dreams met, dreams deferred, perspectives solidified, perspectives changed. We have settled into knowing and accepting each other, understanding rather than judging and forcing change.  We have settled into relationship with one another, choosing it rather than just being born into it.

This circle of coffee ushered in a new phase in our sistering, a more mature, satisfying relationship. A relationship based on respect, honor, and love, not treading on areas where uninvited. I like this phase of sistering. It took us awhile, and many times I mourned it, believing that we would never have it. But now it is here.

Now, we are sisters.


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Monday Morning Coffee and a Quote

Jackman coffee quote

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Monday Morning Coffee and a Chicken

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Photo Credit:

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Monday Morning Coffee and a Bit of Advice

Do not store bed linens in the same closet as deodorant tampons.

Not exactly the fragrance that promises sweet dreams.

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Monday Morning Coffee and a Poem

photo credit: - creative coffee and cafe logos

photo credit: – creative coffee and cafe logos

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Monday Morning Coffee and a Quote


“Big shots are only little shots who keep shooting.” Christopher Morely

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Monday Morning Coffee and a Confession

Sometimes I want to sit on the couch and not do a cotton-pickin’ thing.

Sometimes I want to watch movies all day.

Sometimes I get to.

But not today.

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Monday Morning Coffee and a Quote

Facing this rainy Monday morn with a warm cup of joe and a reminder to have eyes that see.


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President’s Day and Morning Decisions

photo credit:

photo credit:

Today is President’s Day. Which means

there is no school. Which means

the kids are home all day. Which means

I’m going to need more coffee than usual. Which means

the Keurig will not be able to keep up. Which means

I will need to dig out the coffee maker that hasn’t seen

the light of day since Mother’s Day last year.

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To My Mother

January 25, 1932 - February 26, 1996Today is my mother’s birthday.  She would have been 81 years old had she lived past 64. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of her, but today is one of those days that not a moment goes by without me thinking of her. It is her birthday.

Life after my mother’s passing was indescribably hard. I depended on my mother desperately during many dark hours in my life. The day she died was the darkest hour for me, and she wasn’t there.  I spent the following four months trying to figure out life without her. Summer came and I began to write. I would ride my bike out to the cemetery, sit on Dad’s side of the headstone (it was unoccupied at that time) and write. I’d write her letters. I’d write poetry, horribly. I’d write about small memories. I’d write about big memories. I’d write, and the more I wrote, the more I came out of the fog.

I took my first creative nonfiction class that fall, and the instructor asked us to write a piece engaging all of our senses. The following piece is what I wrote. It drips with excessive attempts at imagery, and I’m sorry.

I wrote it for my mother.


She loves rainy days. The sound of the falling rain is poetry to her. Looking out the kitchen window, she feels calm, content with her life as the rain washes her worries of ordinary life away. Rain makes everything clean again. The dust is washed out of the sky, the grass is rinsed from all filth, the air itself is refreshed and awakened much like her life, body and mind.

She goes to the stained coffee-maker perched on the corner of the avocado counter top, reaches in the metal cupboard above, and takes out her favorite rainy-day mug made by her youngest child in an elementary art class. A brown ceramic mug that holds three times more coffee than any other cup in the cupboard. Printed across the side in capital grade-school lettering is her name, “MOM.” Holding it by the top, she places it on the counter next to the coffee pot, and fills it to the brim with piping hot black liquid. The rich aroma floats upward in a coat of steam. She breathes in deeply and sighs, thinking that the only thing better than a good rain is a steaming cup of coffee.

She walks from the kitchen to the front door in her slippers. The scratching of the well-worn soles against the wood floor is the only sound in the house, save the pittering of rain on the roof. At the screen door she stops and breathes in the moist air.  What a perfect day, she thinks to herself. Listening to the screen door clap twice behind her, she makes her way across the porch. She sits in the white washed porch swing, blows the steam from the top of her coffee and takes her first sip.

Her thoughts settle on her children, one by one, as she slowly sways with the swing; each being born on a different day of the week, except for the last baby. She had to share with the second. She wishes that she could have made a whole new day of the week to accommodate them all.

She notices a robin hopping across the yard searching for the right worm to feed her babies for breakfast. She smiles at the memory of making breakfast for eight hungry mouths. She thinks of how she, too, rushed in the morning frenzy as her children chirped over their breakfast, and how she nestled in this very spot after they made it out the door to school. Closing her eyes, she relaxes back into the swing as she takes in a breath of fresh rain. She remembers when the house was completely buzzing with her children, and how she couldn’t wait for silence. Now that she has the silence, she longs for the buzzing. A smile appears in the corner of her mouth as she remembers the bustling days, while a tear forms under her closed lids in empathy for that robin that will soon know the quietness it longs for.

She opens her eyes as she brushes away the tear. Sipping her coffee, she pushes herself softly in the swing and watches it rain.

Happy birthday, Momma.  I still think of you every time it rains.

Categories: Family, Parenting, Personal, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments