I’m the first to admit that I have more than a few buttons that people can push to send me off on a long rant. One of them is the use of the term “real father” (or mother, or virtually any other familial designator), particularly when it is used to refer to someone’s biological-but-absentee relative. And sometimes I don’t just rant, sometimes I’m barely suppressing an urge to punch someone in the mouth over the use of the phrase. More than a little of the blame for that irrational reaction rests solidly at the feet of the man pictured here with a very young me. A man named Ralph.
One of my grandfathers had a coffee mug that was “his” mug. No one else used Grandpa’s mug. It was a yellow mug, but not a really bright yellow. Very similar to the one pictured here.
It was nearly identical in shape to a set of sage green and brown mugs that matched grandma’s everyday plates. That particular shape of stackable coffee mug was very popular when I was a kid. My other grandparents had a set that was very similar in a dark blue—though the bottom, narrow section of the mug was a little taller. And my parents had a set that was a darker, brownish-yellow than grandpa’s, was a gradient of the dark yellow at the top of the mug, becoming dark chocolate brown by the bottom. I remember seeing similar mugs at the homes of many friends.
But, as I said, Grandpa’s mug was different. It was only for Grandpa to use. No one got yelled at if you used Grandpa’s mug by mistake, it was just someone would say, “You can’t use Grandpa’s cup!” or something. Grandpa would laugh if someone else used it. He’d say something like, “Just tell me you didn’t put it in the dishwasher! Never wash my coffee cup, only rinse it!”