Old Friends

I love coffee and most things having to do with coffee.

  • I love the smell of coffee beans.
  • I love my coffee grinder and the options on the coarseness of it’s grind and the amount to be ground. Am I making a latté? (fine grind and 2 cup setting.) Or, a pot? (coarser grind and 10-12 cup setting.)
  • I love a good drip coffee maker, and equally the look and engineering of an espresso machine.

But in all things coffee, second only to coffee itself, I love coffee cups most (we have over a hundred coffee cups and mugs.) I’ve been collecting coffee cups and mugs for about twenty five years. Coffee cups have become

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My newest friends, from the YMCA Camp, Estes Park, CO

old friends and they remind me year after year of where I was and what I was doing when I collected each.

I have cups from across the nation and to a very limited degree, from around the world.

When I used to frequent Starbucks I collected their cups from each city or region that had one. I have Starbucks cups from near, Colorado and Dallas, and far, Hawaii and London. In all I have around 16 Starbucks cups, not counting ones that broke. A 20161029_101930_hdrgood friend of mine, knowing my love for those cups, used to bring me back Starbuck mugs from his travels. Mike Schramm contributed to my collection of mugs bringing me Hawaii, Twin Cities, and Florida. When I drink from those cups I think of my old friend Michael, his trips, and our own times together.

A cup too fine for normal use hangs in a dining room cupboard, courtesy of friend Joe Cassidy and his time in Ireland.  Others from daughters and son-in-laws also adorn kitchen and dining room hooks and shelves.

Like some friendships, some of my coffee cups haven’t survived the years. Philadelphia, the Washington coast, and at least three Starbucks, cracked or broke. I remember them but haven’t had the pleasure of their company for a long time. Was that their fault or mine? Were they too fragile?  Was I too clumsy?  Were they made with a flaw, or did I lack care adequate for their needs? I’m not even sure; all I know is those cups are memories but aren’t among my current coffee cup friends.

My kitchen cupboard is full of coffee cups; so are the hooks that hang above the counter. And so is the cabinet sitting in the dining room my wife decorated.  And with full

cupboards and hooks, I still collect coffee cups. On our vacations and trips, if I find myself in a gift shop, or coffee shop the one thing I’m sure to look at are the cups and mugs— is there another friend, waiting for me on the shelf that I should pick up and take home?

One of the great things about having so many coffee cups and their memories is sharing them with friends. If things are busy and making and serving coffee is a matter of timeliness I usually get out cups indiscriminately. But if it’s just a few of us I usually choose the cups with more care, sharing one friend with another.

I’m still on the lookout for friends old and new, of the coffee cup variety, and the personal.

Cheers!

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About Mike Halpin

Mike Halpin is an elder at Lion and Lamb Church in Topeka, KS (www.lionandlambchurch.com). He is spoiled by his delightful wife Cathie and blessed by his children, sons-in-law, and grandchildren.
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