It probably began with that Thermo-Serv mug commemorating the bicentennial. My grandfather gave one to me and one to my cousin. I still have mine. Or maybe it was that one with Abraham Lincoln’s signature on a Bank Americard. I don’t think I still have that one.

I’ve outgrown and worn out enough t-shirts to know that a mug is a superior souvenir, provided that you can get it home without breaking it. I’ve been pretty successful in doing that over the years.

A couple of developments have led me to deem a need for this blog. I’ve reached an age where I now know that, barring a calamity in my home, my mug collection will likely outlast me on this Earth. That’s one.

Here’s the other: I’ve become a fan of the many resale shops that have sprung up within ten miles of my home. In every one of those stores, there is a shelf or set of shelves filled with used mugs for sale. Often they have the name and logo of a local business screened onto the side, or they were in swag bags when somebody attended a seminar or trade show. Sometimes they represent a vacation destination, or a college, or one of the astounding number of top-rated fathers and grandfathers who walk among us.

This is not how I have collected my mugs. In fact, there’s part of me that’s frightened by my discovery of these cheap mug sources. I’ve told my children that I don’t want my mugs to end up on resale store shelves, selling for 50 cents each, when I go to meet Jesus face-to-face — not that I expect the mugs to matter one whit to me when that happens. Every one of these mugs represents a story from my life — a place I’ve been on vacation, somewhere I’ve spent time with my wife or my family, a team I root for, the university where I studied for four years, the list goes on. And my hope is that revealing their stories here will make the task of honoring my request to keep the mug collection intact, or shared by my kids, seem a little less onerous. Some of the places and things the mugs represent will be familiar to the kids — they were there, too. But others won’t be, and the mugs may gain affinity in having their story told and readily accessible. Hence, this blog.

Besides, my wife and I are raising a new generation of coffee drinkers (though our daughter’s ratio of creamer to coffee reminds me there is still progress to be made). A mug comes in very handy when you’re looking for a way to enjoy the Sumatra you’ve just brewed, no matter how much creamer you insist on adding. (For me, that’s none.)