|by drawcity via Flickr|
Did you ever take a second to look at something that is so familiar to you, something you've seen practically everyday since you can remember, and really look at it? For the first time, you actually see its details and realize that maybe things wouldn't be the same if that object were never there to begin with.
My dad has always sipped his coffee from the same set of mugs since I was a wee tot. The set consisted of either 4 or 6 mugs that my grandma (my mom's mom) gave to my parents in the late '70s sometime when they were married, but now only one remains (just think crash, bang, boom). It's kind of odd that over all the years I've seen this mug and my dad drink from it, I never really looked at it much, nor consciously acknowledged its details. I looked at it tonight when I was finishing my dinner. It's white and stained. Inside there's dark brown coffee stains that fill in the enamel cracks that have formed over the years. Some of the stains appear in rings with scratch marks from stirring spoons through them, revealing the mug's true color. Outside there's mostly unidentifiable spots; some paint smears, some coffee drips and age is a thin film along the creases of the handle and the rims of the mug. The design is perhaps one of the least masculine there is and some may think it strange that I would associate its image with my father. The only remaining mug has hand-drawn red plums on the front and handwriting on the back. I always see the plum side because my dad is left-handed, therefore the most appealing side is facing away from him. The plums are on a branch with plum blossoms in bloom. The handwriting is in cursive and looks as though a woman wrote it. I've never read what it says, but I know that it's about those depicted red plums. One day I should read it when the mug is lying unused on the counter, next to the coffee machine.
Along with my dad's paintings, drawings, and other various artwork, I want that mug to remain when he passes on. I hope to place it on a shelf somewhere, perhaps on a bookcase, and leave it stained and spotted, exactly how it looks today. The one thing that pops into my mind when I think of my father is not paint or abstract art, but that coffee mug. I will probably cry if it is ever broken because it is the one thing that conjures up memories of my father over the whole span of my life, from when I was three up until an hour ago. It's like the timeless object ever-present in my memories of my father.
One day, I should seek out those other mugs that were broken sometime along the way and give them as a gift to my father. I think he would enjoy that.