Coffee Mugs

So Facebook has this feature called “On this day” and it shows you what you posted on this day going back several years or for as long as you’ve been on Facebook and posting.  Today I was shown a picture I took four years ago today – November 25, 2012.

The Roll’n Pin Family Dining – Minot, ND

Four years ago today… man…. it seems very hard to believe. So much has changed between now and then. The building remains but the Roll’n Pin is gone… the people have come and gone… the drinker of this particular cup is now gone… but the coffee mug… it remains.

I collect coffee mugs yet I don’t drink coffee. That may seem odd to you but not to me. It’s a memory. An experience. A location in time. As I look through my cupboard, I see I have a lot of different coffee mugs. I like that none of them match. Like the Roll’n Pin, many of these locations are gone now. I’ve got a thing for places like these. Given the choice, I’ll choose a greasy spoon or Jalisco over just about any other fancier place. Especially if they’ve got their name on a coffee mug.

I think about how many cups of coffee were poured in these places. Probably served more black than with cream & sugar and definitely more caffeinated than decaf but always blazing hot. Often times filled too full requiring a saucer or right up to the brim. Either way, it’ll leave that familiar brown coffee stain circle on the table or counter. Occasionally one is dropped and shattered but an identical replacement immediately appears and takes its place without missing a beat.

How quickly a cup is left empty is a sign of the quality of the diner. A good waitress knows that a full cup of coffee makes or breaks the entire dining experience and is reflected in the tip left behind. So many people passing through these various places, truckstops, cafe’s and diners. For those 30 or 45 minutes, these coffee cups were the most important things sitting at the table. Then they’re left behind, washed and set out again to be treasured for 30 to 45 minutes again.

I wonder how many of these Roll’n Pin coffee mugs are still around? Are they still there in the back of the kitchen in a box inside of the empty restaurant? Were they given away or taken home by the waitstaff? Tossed into the dumpster? I don’t know. Maybe.

I have mine.

I remember… it’s not forgotten.

These people, places and things are not forgotten.

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