Coffee Cups

Early morning this past week.

My wife sat down across the table.  She was holding a coffee cup.  It was familiar in a “long lost way.”

I looked at it, thinking, how long has she had that cup?    I had to ask.

“My Mom gave us two right after we got married..  The other is in the top of the cabinet. It’s yours.” She said.

Suddenly, I felt like I had forgotten a birthday or anniversary.

At least mine is still unbroken and barely used!

I just hate to throw a good cup away.  I have always had one or two favorite cups.  Well, three or four.  Maybe 5 or 6.  Every morning, I have to choose which cup will be favored for the day.

Actually, they’re all mugs, not cups.

I have a mug I kept at my Mom’s house for 30 years.  I didn’t like her cups either.  I wanted a mug.  It has my name on one side and an old time steam train on the other.  She gave it to me when I was in college.  I guess she thought I was going somewhere.

I brought it home after her funeral.   You know why I can’t get rid of it.

A dear friend collected cups and mugs.  He loved the different advertising logos on mugs.  He had a wall filled with 257 different cups.  While they collected dust, he drank out of his favorite. 

He was in the Navy. He dared anyone to wash his cup.  Navy folks know what I’m talking about.

Fifty years later, Sue and I have our own cupboard full of cups.  She has her favorite cups.  Including that one from her Mom.  I have mine.  And that doesn’t include the other one from her Mom.

We have a couple of boxes in the attic with more cups.  When we moved this last time we got rid of boxes of cups.  The local thrift store was overwhelmed.  I think they’re still trying to get rid of them.

I used to go back to my University for a yearly business meeting.  Every trip, they gave me a cup with the school’s logo on the other side.  A red one, a blue one, a white one, then a light blue one.  They kept collecting in our kitchen.  Then a box headed to the attic.

You can’t throw away a perfectly good cup with your college logo on the side.  That’s sacrilegious I think.

The cup holding my coffee this morning has a broken handle.  I glued it back fifteen years ago.   I can feel the crack where the handle broke. Fifteen years of going through the dishwasher has faded the printing.  I can’t throw it away.  My son gave it to me.  It says DAD on both sides.  It says Ole Miss, my school.  It’s still a good cup.  I’m keeping it.

I’m going to keep that cup my mother-in-law gave me also.

Please feel free to share. I encourage and welcome your comments and thoughts.  Contact Mike Windham at amwindham100@gmail.com.  Please follow my blog at mikewindham.com.

Summer Time

It’s hot!

Not just your regular Mississippi Dog Days of Summer hot, but …well, I don’t rightly know how to describe how hot it’s been.  Hotter than a firecracker. Hotter than the devil’s kitchen.

Hotter than a June bride on her wedding night.  No, maybe I shouldn’t say that.

It’s just hot.  The kind of hot where we used to sit on the porch or under a shade tree and do nothing.  It was just too hot to do much of anything, unless you had  to.  Then you got up early and worked during the morning or you waited until late and tried to finish before dark.

People from out of town, especially from up north,  love to tell us how hot it is down here.  Like we don’t know we’re sweating and burning up, slowly roasting.  We know how a marsh mellow feels when you’re toasting it on an open fire.  Burnt on the outside, soft and sweet on the inside.

They want to tell us how the humidity is like a wet sweat shirt. They’re right! But we know that already. We grow up knowing how to sweat.

I was sweating like this when I was a five year old kid.

Back then, we called late August and early September the Dog Days of Summer. The dogs ran up under the porch and didn’t move until nightfall.  They knew enough to hate the heat also.

We watched heat lightning in the evenings. NO rain, just big bolts of lighting and crashing thunder off on the horizon.

I remember the old folks sitting on porches, telling each other what they knew.

“Nary a drop of rain for the past month. Grass is burning up. Trees are stressed.” They’d say. “Enough dust to choke a mule,”  “Too hot to plow.”  “My garden is gone.”

My Dad worked the drilling rigs, summer and winter.  He hated cold weather. 

 “In the summer, you can cool off.  You find some shade, you find some water, you get away from the heat.   In winter, just ain’t  no way to get away from the cold.  You can get warmed up, five minutes later, you’re cold again.  If you’re outside working, the cold will come get you.  Every breath you take tells you how cold it is.  I’d rather deal with the hot weather than a cold wintry night.”

Today, I noticed the cotton bowls were opening up. Fresh, brand new bowls of cotton. Down near the ground, at the bottom of the stalk. The upper bowls will open tomorrow or maybe the day after.

Like popcorn. Cotton. As pure white as anything can be. Cotton loves this hot weather. The summer’s heat makes the cotton crop.  The weather people say the high today is 94 and the heat index is 106.  The cotton crop is in love!

It’s still hot!

Please feel free to share. I encourage and welcome your comments and thoughts.  Contact Mike Windham at amwindham100@gmail.com.  Please follow my blog at mikewindham.com.

Time

Once upon a time I had all the time in the world.  Time for her parents, time for my parents and I made plenty of time for our children. 

Time doesn’t wait, does it?

Now, with grandchildren, I’ve learned my time is limited.  I live on the outside, looking over the fence, watching them grow up so fast, counting my own years and wondering when. 

Grandparents know what I mean when I say “when.”

Three of the grandchildren lived 200 miles from us.  Two lived 600 miles to the north.

We had to leave, to be closer, to use the best of our time until it’s “when.”

We moved 200 miles north.

This new place is smaller.  No sun room.  No hundred year old majestic oak trees in the yard. No laundry room.  No basement. No back patio.  No third bathroom. No long hallway for hanging family photos. No den. No breakfast room, no dining room, and no office for me. 

We downsized.

So, we gave away our life’s collection of junk.  It went to the local thrift store.  I hope the newlyweds find joy in what we had.  I hope they put it to good use. We certainly did.

We boxed up and hauled off the old china.  We kept what was new.  We gave away the stainless flat ware.  Today we use the silver we didn’t use for forty years.

Sue did keep some of the crystal.  It’s a woman thing I guess.

We got rid of the old school desk where the boys got up their homework.  It’s gone now, along with its scars, dings and scraps from 40 years of growing three boys to manhood.  One had written his name in a drawer.  Another had written something not so nice underneath.

One of the boys took the twin beds, another got the bunk beds. They were always theirs to have anyway.

 We had too much. We had to get rid of our stuff. It had to go.

We left a hard wood floor and an oak staircase for someone else.  They can see where a young Windham boy forgot something he needed for a ball game.  He ran down the hall, up the steps and back down, wearing his steel baseball cleats.  We left the tree where one boy carved his initials with his Boy Scout knife.  We left the new concrete steps where I put a quarter in the wet cement.

Now, I sit in a folding chair and watch my granddaughters play soccer. Today I can take them to the snowball stand on any afternoon, instead of having to wait until we drive to them or they drive to us.

I have had plenty of time in my world, I don’t have that much time in their world.

Please feel free to share. I encourage and welcome your comments and thoughts.  Contact Mike Windham at amwindham100@gmail.com.  Please follow my blog at mikewindham.com.

Good Manners

Good Manners are getting hard to find.  Good manners are almost impossible to keep.

In my world, manners are important.  I like to say “Yes Sir”, “No Mam”, “Please” and “Thank You.”  I was taught to use my manners by my Grandmother and my mother.  My Dad insisted on me having good manners. My Grandfather would just look at me and never say a word if I didn’t show my manners.  I knew.

As I got older, showing my manners started making sense to me. Good manners are nothing more than being respectful. 

 I found value in being nice, in being grateful and being appreciative of others. In the business world, manners are important.  Bad manners and rudeness run hand in hand.  They create roadblocks. My Grandfather said “Show your respect, let your manners do your talking for you.”

 In the private world, bad manners shut doors and lock you out.  It’s just that simple.

Yesterday, I stopped by a store, walked down a couple aisles, picked up what I was looking for and went to check out.  I walked past those cursed “self-checkout” spots.  I found a check-out line with only one person in front of me.  A stroke of luck for me!

I live in a college town. We have a lot of youngsters are in town.  They are always spending their Dad’s money.  I was standing behind a young coed.  I hope her Dad has a lot of money.  She spent more money in five minutes than my wife and I spent in a semester.

I watched as she put her items on the counter. I watched the clerk scan and bag each item.  Then the college girl whipped out a credit card and a moment later she was gone, pushing her way through the store with a buggy full of whatever.  She didn’t say thank you, you’re welcome or kiss my foot.  She just stuffed her Daddy’s credit card back in her pocket and stormed away.

 She looked like the poor clerk was doing her a favor. She was rude.

I only had two items.  Yes, I could have scanned, paid and been on my way two minutes earlier.  I’m retired.  I don’t do “hurry up and wait” anymore.  I have time.

The clerk scanned my two items, told me the price and I did the credit card thing.  She handed me a receipt.

I said “Thank you.”   I didn’t even think about it.  Just a simple “Thank you.”  That’s who I am.

She looked at me.  “What?”

“Thank you.”

She was still looking at me.  She turned her head a bit, like she was pointing her ear at me.  “What did you say?”

“I said thank you.”

“Oh.  Ahh….OK.”

I walked to my car and sat there for a minute.

We don’t hear Thank You much anymore.  We don’t hear Please, we don’t hear Yes Sir, we hardly ever hear Yes Mam or You’re Welcome.

Like I said, good manners are hard to find.

Please feel free to share. I encourage and welcome your comments and thoughts.  Contact Mike Windham at amwindham100@gmail.com.  Please follow my blog at mikewindham.com.