Fox Pass Pottery, Elvis and Pisgha, Alabama…My Coffee Mug Collections

cups1If you ever visit Hampoland and ask for a drink you’ll probably be handed a beautiful- tacky- coffee mug. Doesn’t matter if you ask for water, wine,  coffee, juice or milk, chances are you’ll be drinking out of a coffee mug.

I have  wonderful and bizarre of coffee mugs from all over the world because my kids and friends go to great places and always bring me a coffee mugs. They are more useful and cheaper than t-shirts.

My most recent addition came from Portia Rico.  Mary and Jack went there to surf last month and Jack got me a mug with mustached man(he looks kind of like Burt Reynolds) sitting on either a horse or donkey.

Right now it’s sitting in the cabinet next to a mug with the presidential seal and a picture of Socks the Cat.  Mary gave me that one for Christmas last year along with a pair of Toms. She was working at the Clinton Foundation so everything in the gift shop was fifty percent off.

Jack and I took Lex to Graceland so I have a mug with Nixon and Elvis shaking hands. One of my favorites is from Fox Pass Pottery. When Lex was born Barbara and Jim Larkin (legendary artists) made her a cup with her name and a blue rocking horse.

My best buddy Amelia brought me a mug with lots of tribal salmon and birds swimming around from Alaska. There’s a goofy leopard print mug with a cheetah head handle. Alex gave it to me when we were dating. It’s weird.

I’ve got a Henry VII  mug from London, mugs from Barcelona, Chicago, Nashville and the Outter Banks of North Carolina, New York and  Detroit cause Alex was born and raised on Motown and there’s pirate mug from Daytona. I love my Shack Up mug from Mississippi. There were share-cropper shacks in the Delta but I think somebody famous like Morgan Freeman turned them into little blues cottages.

cupsOh, and one of the best is from St. Louis. It has a big picture of the Arch of course.  Amelia and I took Mary up there for college. Mary told everybody we were both “her moms,” so everyone we met thought we were a nice gay couple.  Mary stayed in St. Louis for a few months then ran off with a guy who’s e-mail address was “Toker 69”. That’s what I think about every time I use that mug.

There’s Pisgha, Alabama home of the Eagles. Pisgha is Amelia’s home town and it’s really fun to say out loud. The best for coffee is a big blue mug Lex got me from the Ripley’s Museum in Branson.

There’s only one rule about coffee mugs in Hampoland.  We have an old cheap cup with cows. Twenty years ago when Mary and Jack were little, we had an entire set of cow dishes. Now there’s just one cup left with a momma cow and her baby. It’s called the “Cow Cup” and you’re only allowed to drink milk from the Cow Cup. If you try to pour juice in the Cow Cup everybody in the house will yell at you.  Even Lexie and Sandor’s friends know not to put soda in the Cow Cup.

So come on over any time. Ask for something to drink and you’ll probably get a great story along with your beverage.

My Red Neck Christmas Again….yes it’s a reprint

Fountain Lake, the community I live in, is tiny and decidedly red neck. I just ran a couple of errands, two nights before Christmas, and was overwhelmed by the Holiday Spirit. But most of us are poor southern folks who love the Ft. Lake Cobras so Christmas here, is not elegant. Still it’s beautiful.
In Fountain Lake the Holiday Spirit is a little different, but just as sweet.
First, I spotted three Wise Men and an Angel waving at strangers in front of the Fountain Lake Liquor Store and Sub-Way. How beautiful is that?

Then Pat, the generally tight video store owner, didn’t collect my late charges. He said, “Merry Christmas,” and waved me away. Cool!

As I passed Insane Auto, a “buy here, pay here”  car lot, I realized there, behind the light up nativity scene, right behind Mary and Joseph and the Baby Jesus there was a pick-up truck wrapped in Christmas lights! It was so pretty I almost teared up because the Insane Auto folks obviously spent a lot of time putting their lights and decorations out and it graces the Fountain Lake community, every year.

And finally, Tony, my daughter’s, tatted- up, kickboxing coach surprised everyone by making fudge. I sure didn’t see that one coming.

Every community celebrates the Christmas season differently. At Sandor’s school in the Christmas pagent this year there were six little kids dressed as reindeer with antlers. One of them actually had a beanie with real deer antlers poking out. A six point buck died for the Ft. Lake Christmas play. How about that?

So love and appreciate your community, maybe it’s a Starbuck sipping village with tiny silver and gold lights or a Rebel Yelling crossroads where camouflage, lip gloss and a Santa hat constitute party wear.
I want to hear about your Christmas and throw me a shout out to Fountain Lake . Leave a comment or hit me up at   Thanks so much for reading Hampoland. Merry Christmas!

Christmas Lights and Remorse

For almost twenty years I have given my husband, Alex grief about the way he decorated for Christmas. Some of my classic lines included, “You put the lights on the tree so tight, it looks like you are taking it hostage,” and “there are so many blinking lights on that tree I’m going to have a seizure.” I was brutal but I thought I was pretty funny.

But  it was Alex’s outdoor decorating that really lit me up.. First, he would blanket our house with every strand of lights he could find in the dollar store, nothing matched they just had to be bright. Every thing was sagging and swooping, hanging and dangling. There were clumps and dark bald spots. Every year it looked as though a giant Elf threw up Christmas lights on our house.

We all teased Alex constantly about his light hanging skills. But I was the guilty bully who lead the charge.  The kids only joined in because I started the teasing.

Well, this year Alex has just been too tired or too busy to hang lights. Or maybe he’s just tired of us making fun of his efforts. 

 I waited for a week but it became obvious Alex wasn’t going to hang any lights outside, so I picked up the staple gun and found a ladder.  On a cold Sunday afternoon I hung our Christmas light. Everything looks lovely, the corners are square, the lines are taunt and even. I did a good job.

 But it’s just not the same, I miss our Christmas mess, it was vibrant, garish, brilliant and ludacris. It was Hampoland.

I regret my smart mouth every time I turn up our driveway.  I’m sorry Alex. The only highlight, I left three Halloween ghost hanging on the deck. It’s my literary salute…get it?  They are the the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future from the Christmas Carole.

e-mail me or comment, tell me who hangs the lights at your house and who has a big mouth.