We have a cupboard -- you know, the kind that goes back way deep into the corner -- full of coffee cups. We have bits and pieces of acouple of matched sets, plus several tall, colorful "theme" cups; one has snowmen on it, another is one I painted at a ceramics shop. Several we've had so long, I don't know where they came from, and I don't know why I keep them - like this one, for instance:
I was pulling out a cup after Mass this morning, to serve as a middleman from the coffee pot to my lips -- as I am feeling in particular need of a caffeine jolt -- and this little old brown cup was front and center. Where it came from I have no idea, but look at that cup. Check out the little tiny handle on it. My city grandfather (whom we called "Pappy") was a big coffee drinker. Got up at around 5 a.m. every day and drank black coffee until the early afternoon, when he switched to Schlitz. We loved it when Pappy came to visit, as he was generally a very jolly grandfather, but coffee at our house never started his day off well because he hated our coffee cups; the handles were too small. Like those on that brown cup.
My grandfather had the thick, craggy hands of a man who had spent a long life working hard with his hands, and it offended his sense of manliness, I think, that our cups were too small for his fingers. He also had a problem with the lid of our sugar container, because it required small, dextrous fingers to get ahold of. And, though I don't remember him actually complaining, I wouldn't wonder if he weren't underwhelmed with the coffee in the cup, as well. My grandmother brewed a serious pot of coffee, black as night, strong as Atlas, with enough punch to propel you into the next day. My Mom's coffee was (and is) dainty and subtle or -- as Pappy probably thought -- pretty limp-wristed in comparison. Though we kids did our best to keep our grandfather on his toes bright and early in the morning, I think he'd rather have had some nice strong coffee in a more manly cup. Poor Pappy. I'm having a good strong cuppa joe thinking of him this morning -- and it's in a cup with fairies and flowers painted on it but the handle is big enough even for his thick fingers.