I'm not talking the free promotional ones--the plain white, straight-up-and-down, 12-oz. standard coffee mugs emblazoned with a company logo or some crass expression. I'm into seriously well-crafted mugware. Ones you take home from an artisan or specialty shop from that vacation-to-end-all vacations. I have a cabinet full of them. They take me to different places, mentally, where I can be more free and creative.
There are several from Alewine Pottery in Gatlinburg. They're handcrafted and substantial, and coffee tastes so much better sipped out of them. One, from my first trip to Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge with Enzo, reminds me of our lunch in the quaint little cafe next to the pottery shop and the little antique stores we tucked into to indulge my shopping quest. Another two were from our recent joint mini-vacation to Townsend, Tennessee, with two good friends. When I drink from it, I can't help thinking about the talented singer/guitarist, Rod, who entertained at the Back Porch restaurant during our first dinner together in town. I aim to return there sometime soon and talk shop with that guy.
Today I relived a idyllic stay in Hot Springs, North Carolina, a few years back as I enjoyed my coffee from my totally touristy little red mug. It's short and squat and one of my personal favorites. And, yes, I even have a few of the standard promotional mugs: one from a former employer, another with a photo from a company Christmas party, a logo mug from my college alma mater and another I won at a memorable visit to the Bissel Mansion with my family.
They all have a place, and each has a story--I'm all about stories. I'll continue to overfill my kitchen with more drinkware than any one person should have. But the memories, those I need.