19 Mar


I remember the sound, but not what I was pouring into one of my preferred mugs. Tea, probably. Was the kitchen too cold? The tea too hot? Tea can never be too hot, in my estimation, but I digress.

I heard the crack, but saw no sign of damage. I carried the mug from sofa to chair, back and forth all day, filling and refilling it. It seemed to have suffered no damage.

I pulled the same mug out today. There was no crack as I put in first the milk, and then the coffee. I savored the first sip of my morning joe in that mug that feels so good in my hand. Maybe you have a mug like that. The weight and the design are perfect.

Richard got up as he does, while I enjoy my firs cup. I took him out. I fed him. I gave him his treat. But when I returned to my mug, now full of tepid coffee, something was wrong – a pool of coffee encircled the bottom.

Had I spilled? I wondered.

I wiped up the mess and returned to my computer, looking at today’s COVID stats, checking email. Then, there it was again. Not a pool, but a bead of coffee at the mug’s base. I grabbed a paper towel, folded it and set it under the cup. A small stain appeared on the white towel. I moved the mug. A new bead appeared. I wiped the bottom then lifted the mug high but saw no discernible mark. And yet, a new bead appeared. I downed more coffee so I could look inside.My heart sank as I saw the hairline crack that ran the length of the mug, brim to bottom. On closer inspection, I could see the crack on the front.

My heart sank. I picked this mug up at my first District School Librarian meeting. I loved being a school librarian and thought that would be the job I retired from. Alas, it was not to be. Certified school librarian positions were eliminated in 2012. For a couple of years, I hoped the jobs would return, but as the years passed, I realized they would not. This mug was a reminder of a job that I loved. Now, it too had run it’s course.

And so, after finishing my coffee, I said a fond farewell to one of my favorite mugs. It was a double mourning, in a way, the loss of the mug and the loss of a job I loved.

9 Responses to “Leak”

  1. Diane Anderson (newtreemom) March 19, 2021 at 7:41 am #

    Powell’s!!! I loved that place! So sad to lose that mug. I have a favorite, too, that I wonder each time I get it out if it could be the last . I see a little evidence of a crack, but so far no leak. It has peacock feathers on it. A long time ago I wrote a slice about it.

  2. vivian chen March 19, 2021 at 8:24 am #

    I would be sad to lose a Powell’s mug too! I recently had to tell my partner to please not use my Golden Girls mug. That one is special and when it cracks I’ll definitely be feeling a loss.

  3. arjeha March 19, 2021 at 8:28 am #

    We all have our favorite mugs. They hold just the right amount of coffee. They have the right feel. They have a sturdy base. It is a loss when it can no longer be put into service. We must then start the process of finding the right mug all over again. Hope you have a second favorite that will now move up in the ranks.

  4. Payanar March 19, 2021 at 9:36 am #

    It is so fascinating how some possessions become so beloved to us. Sorry to hear that this favorite mug is now out of commission.

  5. Rita K. March 19, 2021 at 10:02 am #

    This slice could serve as a mentor text. I love how you clearly described each step of discovering that your mug was (sadly) dying. You did a great job tying the loss of the mug into the loss of a job that you loved. Great job on this interesting piece.

  6. jumpofffindwings March 19, 2021 at 10:25 am #

    This is phenomenal, for all the reasons others have said. What sticks with me though is something that makes me somewhat angry—that certified school librarian positions are being eliminated! Don’t get me started. There is nothing more valuable than a teacher-librarian and that we don’t have the “budget” for them makes me crazy. (Oh, you struck a nerve with this post.) I also, as an Oregonian and bearer of my own Powell’s mug, love that connection.

  7. Shaista March 19, 2021 at 2:21 pm #

    Ugh, what a pity! I once watched a favorite glass fall, literally in slow motion, and shatter to pieces in front of my eyes! It was like I just stood there, doing there, while it took ages to hit the floor!

  8. Lisa Corbett March 19, 2021 at 6:51 pm #

    The everyday objects in our lives all tell the story of us. I agree with others – this is a great mentor text!

  9. hzreflections March 20, 2021 at 1:36 pm #

    I am sorry to hear about the crack in a favorite meaningful mug. I appreciated how you slowed down the story to show us what you were slowly but surely realizing.

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