The Cup

the cupPeople become attached to some strange things. These items mean the world to us. We become upset if they become missing or are by our definition, misused. The item might be an old pocket watch that loses time in an age where time can be accurate to the nano second in a cell phone. Or it could be a pocket knife that has been sharpened and resharpened to the point that there is a pronounced bow in the blade. I’m talking about myself, of course. But I’m willing to bet you have things like that yourself. These items give comfort, a familiarity that bring back memories. Some of these memories might be a little painful such a my knife post, “Careful! He’s armed”

One of my favorite items that will have no meaning to anyone when I pass from this land of the mortals is a coffee cup that I’m sipping my fresh ground Colombian bean from this morning. Oh, I have a cabinet full of coffee cups. Themed to holidays, everyday use, giant mugs, and travel mugs, I invariably reach for that humble brown cup. Coffee though is not the only beverage that the cup has contained. Over the years it has held everything from water to mushroom tea to soft drinks to almost every type of alcohol known to man. In other words, almost every drinkable liquid known to man. And some that shouldn’t be drank by man or beast.

The cup is made from a brown material that you don’t dare put in a microwave. I saw a similar cup that had been microwaved. The results looked much like a piece of particle board that had been soaked in water.

And I don’t trust the dishwasher. Oh, the cup has been handwashed which by my definition is rinsed out and turned over on some handy, mostly clean, surface. Washing it that way, the character of the cup and the subtle flavor imparted by the myriad layers of previous liquids that have dried on the inside isn’t compromised. Since it hasn’t be scrubbed clean, some future scientist could test the layers and see exactly what I was up to by analyzing layers like they are rings of a tree.

An astute observer would know I was right handed by the stain on outside rim. They would surmise that I had some tangential relation to the military by the stamped “U.S.” on the outside bottom of the cup

I acquired The Cup as a young man who still didn’t need to shave but twice a week. The Army, however, in its infinite wisdom insisted I shave daily. I followed orders and at least twice a week made sure I had a blade in the double sided razor. This example of Army wisdom was the same that dictated that I, a young man raised in the woods, swamps and rivers of a hot and humid south should not be sent to Vietnam but instead assigned to Northern Italy where I provided communications for a Sargent missile battalion in the Italian Alps. At this time we had no cell towers, no infinite fiber optics and no satellites for communications. We were somewhat limited in the fact the Earth was round and radio signals traveled in straight lines. Bouncing radio signals off the ionosphere to compensate or relay them from radio to radio to radio was our only method to communicate.

But I digress. Leaving the mess hall at Fort Knox where I was in AIT, I carried out my coffee without the Mess Sargent seeing. The Cup has been with me ever since except for brief periods that inspired irrational behavior

Shortly after GF (GirlFriend as opposed to lower case casual for the moment gf) the Cup became missing. GF says it was one of the few times that she had considered ending our relationship The irrational searches, the accusatory looks, the moaning, and heavy sighs severely stressed her commitment to being GF and brought about a longing for her old gf status. Fortunately for her, the Cup was found in the livewell of a old johnboat I was working on a week later. There was mold growing on the remaining coffee but a through rinsing restored it to it’s former glory.

What is your cup?

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