Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Dad's Coffee Cup

As I stirred my coffee this morning, I thought back to places in my childhood- the sound of a metal spoon being swirled inside the thick Buffalo China coffee cup that my dad claimed as "his" for as long as I can remember. His hand was always gripped around his mug and his cigarette slowly dropping gray ashes into a nearby tray.

That same coffee mug was the center of "company"- on evenings when friends from church gathered around the gray Formica table, smoked cigarettes and ate donuts with their coffee. Somehow Dad always managed to spring for a few dozen Dixie Cream donuts. (Or maybe they split the cost?). Either way, I still drool at the sight of those blue and white gingham boxes stuffed with glazed, fluffed and jellied delights. And the kitchen offered an awesome perfume... A mixture of strong coffee, sweet pastries and puffs of cigarette smoke. Heavenly...

Sometimes I would lie awake in the morning and hear Dad in the kitchen, pulling his chair out and smashing the middle of freshly fried eggs into a yellow pulp with his "grease gravy". Then he'd eat cold butter and jelly blended with a fork on top of Mom's extra-special canned biscuits.
There was only a soft hum as he and Mom talked- (As a mother, I now know they secretly hoped that all us kids would stay in bed a while longer). And again, the swirl of a spoon inside his china cup was an unconscious sense of comfort to me.

Dad often took his cup to the living room, and carefully placed the steamy coffee next to his recliner as he cranked it back and lifted his feet. Then he pulled on his eyeglasses, fitting them slightly down the bridge of his nose, and cracked open a faded paperback that was covered with wild horses...or space ships. He loved to read both Westerns and Sci-Fi- perhaps to keep his feet in both doors of time.
Sometimes he would have his favorite bologna rolled into a meaty cone- to be eaten with crackers- while he searched for a good black and white cowboy movie on TV. Other times it was a variety show like Carol Burnett or a series like the Honeymooners. I liked watching those kind of programs with the family.
But Lord help us all if it was a Sunday and all that was on was sports! I still cringe at the voice of football announcers and basketball referees blowing their whistles and the sound of a bat cracking as the crowd grows wild....

I think my brother Cranston has Dad's coffee cup now. I hope he uses it. I hope he makes that bittersweet sound as he stirs a metal spoon around the inside. I hope he remembers fondly the blurry childhood of  Dad's presence, his unspoken love, and days that still sparkle brightly within our hearts.

Drink up. And, hey- let's have donuts sometime soon...:)


  1. Our Dads...they had their special chairs and cups and a special place in our hearts.

  2. aw good memory rae. Cranston is a special person, When God made him he threw away the mold. He is like a son to me. I hope he has your Dads cup too. but with Cran. he drinks 2 parts milk, l part coffee, so pondering the thought here if he was a real coffee drinker, Good memories of your Dad rae, keep them close to your soul, I lost my dad so many yrs go I can barely remember his face let alone any of his habits, cept he loved oyster stew, and yellow roses.... Your mom an Dad were special. I count it a blessing that my precious late husband had the honor to precide over your wonderful mothers funeral. your one special gal in my book....

  3. Your writing brings such a wonderful mental picture. I can hear the sounds, smell the smells and even taste those jelly donuts! We called Dad's cup the "Navy Cup"....why? Did he bring it home from the navy? Wouldn't it be grand to be able to go back, in time, and relive those moments? Things as simple as a cup, a jelly donut, a spoon clicking against a glass mug, a blue and white checkered box...they can sure jar those memories we keep so dear to our hearts. Thanks for writing this and sharing.....I remember too! Thanks Sis!

  4. Very, very nice writing, Rae! You are a far better writer than the vast majority of these "wannabe writers"/bloggers I find at Blogspot, who are constantly posting junk about "How To"... you name it - write believable dialogue; create memorable characters; spice up your novel's plot points; create interesting query letters; make love to a literary agent, etc., etc., etc.

    Meanwhile, you're just posting well-written blog bits that eclipse EVERYTHING these so-called "writers" are capable of composing - when they aren't presuming to teach us how to improve our writing.

    >>...And again, the swirl of a spoon inside his china cup was an unconscious sense of comfort to me.

    I know exactly what you mean, even though the things that gave my young mind an "unconscious sense of comfort" were different from those that did it for you.

    The sight of my Dad, propped up on one elbow in bed, leisurely smoking a cigarette before getting up to face the day. (Of course, most Americans today would consider that a crime worse than killing an unborn child.)

    Or, the soft murmur in the morning coming from the TV in another room, where my Mom has it tuned to a Spring Training baseball game in Vero Beach, Florida.

    Those were things that indicated to me that "all is well right now".

    "I'd trade all of my tomorrows for a single yesterday."

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

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