A Slice of Life: Those Coveted Coffee Mugs

Written by: Kim Fundingsland
My favorite coffee mug is a hand-painted gem that has been dropped, banged around, misplaced, had its lid replaced, and usually goes wherever I go.

I’ve noticed that many coffee drinkers have a weird relationship with their favorite coffee mugs. They cling to them as if their very lives were dependent upon it. Strange.

Hmmm. As I write these lines, I confess to you, dear reader, that my favorite coffee mug is but a few inches away.

Sitting on a table in a cook tent in northern Saskatchewan, where the sun sets for only a few hours, is my reliable fishing-themed coffee mug.

That means I hereby, in a very public way, include myself among those who I previously expressed reservations regarding their highly caffeinated behavior, namely their relationship with a material vessel akin to some sort of false idol.

As I throw my complete effort into this written word, I do so with the knowledge that many of you will be reading this, favorite coffee mug in hand, or perhaps just inches away. You are my incentive, my inspiration, to freely share what perhaps may not actually be a shortcoming, but rather something worthy of the highest honor bestowed upon those who cling to a favorite coffee mug.

I have no clue what that honor might be, or who or what organization might bestow it, but you have my utmost assurance that I am infinitely qualified to receive it. You see, I have gone to unusual lengths to maintain the integrity and admiration of coffee mug fanciers everywhere. I’m certain that distinct qualification must be written in the official coffee drinker’s code somewhere.

It should be noted that I am not completely possessed with this coffee mug business. Partially maybe, but not completely. I don’t have any selfies of me and my favorite coffee mug standing in front of the great pyramids of Egypt or on the slopes of Mount Everest. I suppose I would, just have never been to those places.

Nevertheless, my lack of worldly travels aside, I have taken my coveted coffee mug as far south as Florida where the sun turns Norwegian skin red in minutes, and as far north as the northern reaches of Saskatchewan where the sun sets for only an hour or two.

Those who drink coffee daily have a favorite coffee mug that is usually never more than an arm’s length away.
Kim Fundingsland photos

This is not just any coffee mug we’re talking about here. Please, stay with me as I reveal a bit of history that helps explain my fondness for, of all things, a coffee mug.

The mug about which I am writing came into my possession, lawfully, when I purchased it at a C-Store which was promoting the sales of coffee to its customers. Buy a mug, get coffee for half price for a year. I quickly calculated I’d come out ahead on that deal in short order, and I did. Problem was though, that mug was dropped, banged around, left on the roof of my vehicle, misplaced for a time, and otherwise frightfully abused far beyond what any coffee mug should endure.

I had replaced shattered and broken lids a couple of times. The dents became a sort of “Red Badge of Courage”, but the chipped paint began to seriously degrade the appearance of what had become my favorite coffee mug. Now what?
An ingenious plan was needed to save that mug from the dumpster, a fearful fate that I determined would have had an unknown effect on me, and one which I didn’t wish to discover. I sought some advice from a friend, a known craftsman skilled in various methods of painting.

Not knowing what the outcome would be, but cautiously optimistic, I applied a couple of primer coats to my previously described coffee mug. That I followed with two coats of dull green paint, all of this over the top of the mug’s former maroon color. It is here that things became quite problematic.

You see, I make no claim to having any artistic ability, yet wished to personalize my coveted coffee mug. I tried several free hand drawings to test my ability. All were miserable failures, sad confirmation of what I already knew. Still, I remained the owner of a dull green coffee mug much in need of improvement.

I devised a plan that I thought I could execute. Even if not up to artistic standards, I reasoned, and expected, my coffee mug would be very much my doing and therefore a valued asset. What I came up with was a combination of tracing my favorite home-made fishing lures and a mixture of actual innovative painting.

Perfect? Nope. But it’s my creation, and both a reflection of my lack of ability as an artist and my passion for fishing. Plus, it is one of a kind and, like a loyal dog, will follow me anywhere. Really though, it has no other choice.

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