It was two months ago in America, I opened the top drawer where I’m sure my daughter had said the mugs were kept, but a packet of coffee powder stared back at me, or was it chilly powder? But they don’t keep chilly powder on shelves, do they in America? Let it be, I told myself, not ready to solve the coffee and chilly powder problem right now, and opened the drawer below and nearly had forks and spoons and all the rest of the cutlery fall on my toes. I quickly closed the drawer on those murderous weapons and looked into the shelves on top.

I remember my thoughts and what followed: Where’s my coffee mug?

Well it’s not mine. Nothing is mine here, it’s not my home. My home is ten thousand miles away or somewhere near ten thousand, where my green coffee mug hangs neatly in its place, washed and wiped and wedged in its familiar setting with nobody else going to move it from there. Nobody would dare, I tell myself then look again for a coffee mug in my daughter’s home in New York, and suddenly the unfamiliar mocks me, “Who asked you to leave home and hearth?” ask the shelves and murderous forks and spoons, “Learn to stay where you belong!”

“Dad, what are you looking for?” asks my daughter, obviously awakened by the purposeful noise of the cutlery, betraying my furtive movements, “Nothing!” I say.

“Are you looking for a mug?”

“A mug?” I ask, “Not, a mug, but my coffee mug, the red one!”

“I think hubby’s using it!” says my daughter, “Take the cup!”

I take the cup, and measure only half of what I normally drink. When did I ever drink coffee in a teacup, I wonder.

“You should have stayed at home!” say all of the kitchen gleefully.

And I think of Columbus, and Magellan and Drake and all the explorers who left the comforts of home and hearth, searching the next morning, not just for coffee mug, but for coffee! They left the familiar, and because they did, the world benefitted, they did too, with untold wealth and name, but first they had to leave their coffee mugs.

I look at the teacup as my son-in-law enters, “Dad! Use this, it keeps the coffee warm for hours!”

I take the new mug which is also a flask from him, it’s better than the green mug at home, and as I taste the coffee, I realize that yes indeed the coffee stays hot. I look at the kitchen cutlery, and with a friendly voice tell them, “You got to leave the familiar before you discover something better,”  and suddenly they grin and nod.

Somewhere at home, I know my green mug frowns at me for taking this bold step into the unfamiliar, but my hot coffee grins back at me ..!

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