My Favorite Things – JPC 2017 Edition


Oprah Winfrey is known for many things, including her annual Christmastime list of “My Favorite Things.”  So, I wondered, perhaps I can make my own list.  But it will be a bit different.  Where Oprah’s (it’s alright to call you Oprah, isn’t it?) list consists of 102 items with a cumulative price tag of over $14,000, mine will be a bit different.  The good news is that the cost will be well under $35.  The bad news is that these things will be impossible for you to buy.  So let’s start.

First up is my favorite coffee cup.  You all know that I loves me my morning coffee, and any great coffee experience must include the perfect cup.  My prized cup came from an awards dinner put on by the Advertising Department at Ball State University, where one of my sons received some awards.

These cups (we got two of them) were big red mugs with the University’s logo on them.  As much as I detest odd, mismatched glassware (perhaps owing to my youth, during which my mother – a child of the Depression – saved the glasses from jelly jars and such for our everyday use) these just looked “right” to me.

And so they were.  They were big (all the better to hold more coffee, my dear) and red (don’t we all need some morning cheerfulness?).  The handles were shaped perfectly and the white insides highlighted the delicious deep brown brew that filled them.

Alas, through some carelessness in handling I broke the handle on one of them, leaving me with a single big red cup.  One that is pretty much without a logo any more due to the ruthless efficiency of my dishwasher.  So, this cup is worth what – perhaps a buck?  Maybe less.  But you can’t have it, making it much more impossible to get than anything from Oprah.

There are also a couple of shirts in my closet.  My Mrs. picked these up for me some time around maybe 1994.  One is a striped short sleeve Duck Head buttondown and the other is a dark green long sleeve.  Both of them have a fabric that is both weighty and soft.  I feel good whenever I put one of them on.  Did I say I feel good?  This is a dramatic understatement.  I feel perfected when wearing one of these shirts.

I remember laughing at my father one time, perhaps in the late ’90s, joking that his tastes seemed stuck in the 1970s.  His reply took me a little aback – he said that he liked the ’70s.  How, I wondered, was that possible?  But here I am, a guy who simply adores two shirts from the mid ’90s.  I think they are timeless.  Perhaps I should block any of my children from commenting here as they might disagree.

Unfortunately, too many wearings and washings have frayed the collars and made them look – how shall I say this?  Let’s go with a little too comfortable.  My Mrs. is not as diplomatic about it.  In fact, I am prohibited from wearing them beyond boundaries of my property.  I will confess that I occasionally rebel and wear one anyway, but I must be careful or they will disappear on me.  Discretion is the better part of valor, after all.

My shirts (combined) are undoubtedly worth less than my coffee cup.  Some like them are, however, surely available in a secondhand shop somewhere and with enough wearing and washing you can enjoy something very similar.  With the time and expense involved in duplicating them, I suspect that they will cost a bit more, but hey – nothing of value comes free.

Finally, there is my La Z Boy recliner.  I remember accompanying my Dad and Stepmom to the small town furniture store where they picked it out.  In 1973.  It was a dark brown vinyl recliner with a high back and a wide seat.  It was my father’s favorite chair for years, until he moved and it was relegated to his basement.

When I was in law school, he allowed me to take it so that I could furnish an apartment.  He sternly warned me to never attempt homework in that chair, as I would surely fall asleep in it and flunk out of school.  I laughed.

That chair was a bit ragged even then, with a split in the vinyl seat cushion.  I took care of this by covering it with a folded throw rug, which fit the seat almost perfectly.  It followed me to my first apartment and then to my first house, where I spent many happy hours on the edge of dozing in front of the television.  Dad was right about the sleep-inducing properties of that chair.

Marriage resulted in my chair being moved (banished?) to the basement.  Because my Mrs. has standards.  It did survive a move, though still as a basement family room chair until some new ones came along.  It then went to a basement storage area where it has spent way too many years as a storage platform for other possessions.

Unless I let one of the boys take it to school – it has been so long that I no longer remember.  I will be optimistic and say that it is still there.  There is no sense making a special trip all the way to the far corners of the basement to check.  If I am wrong, I would have to erase a bunch of what I have written and find another favorite thing to tell you about.

Perhaps I am just a pack rat who hates change.  Or perhaps I just find comfort in the familiar.  In any case, my favorite things won’t set you back any money.  Because you can’t have them.

16 thoughts on “My Favorite Things – JPC 2017 Edition

    • Haha, we took the middle road between you the last time we bought dishes. The dishes and mugs match, but are in 4 different colors. The coffee is not bad in those mugs, but “not bad” is not the same thing as “wonderfully fabulous”, which is how the coffee is in my red mug.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Perhaps it’s due to the novelty of it, but I love drinking from fruit and jelly jars – provided they have enough volume. But then again, I’m one who is still lost on the appeal of coffee….

    The recliner needs to be resurrected. From the sound of it, it may not require a lot to put back into at least second-line use. The old recliner that went to college with me was purchased in the very late 1960s (or perhaps the very early opening of the 1970s) and was a very rugged black vinyl. Me thinks it was given to a roommate upon my graduation.

    There are still a few early to mid-1990s tee shirts hanging around. All are horribly worn but they keep going and are great for working around the house.

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    • I will confess that when the kids were young we assembled a set of glasses from Armor dried beef jars. It is amazing that those glasses/jars are identical to those I drank out of as a kid. They were small and durable, perfect for youngsters. But at least they all matched. 🙂


  2. We still have one jelly jar to drink out of from my post graduate era of random glassware. Makes me feel younger to drink out of it.

    Now my favorite coffee cup is one I got for fathers day at some point. It has a toolbox on it, and it says “Excellent Engineer” but if you look really close you can juust make out that built into the background pattern are the words “It’s only a job” over and over again.

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  3. We got a set of 4 glass mugs at least 15 years ago that I usually use. One of them met its demise in the sink last week, but at that rate, I think I’m ok.

    BTW, I was thinking of your Christmas tree story the other day at my Mom’s when I was putting up her artificial tree which I suspect is even older than yours.


    • That is the worst – going from a set of mugs to not a set. I had only 2 (which began as not a set), so breaking one

      Ugh, time to drag the tree parts up from the basement. One son has announced plans for a real tree this year. I am waiting to see if the prices scare him off.


  4. Heh! I liked the 70’s, too, but I was teenager for most of them. In some regards, I find myself stuck in the 90’s, too. It doesn’t help that the only TV I seem to watch is the local HD sideband channel called “Laff”, which shows a ton of re-runs from the 90’s. My folks were also refugees of the Depression, and we always seemed to have mis-matched plates, glasses and cutlery. One of my pet peeves in my own house is having matching stuff in the kitchen, but we’ve rectified that by obtaining the whole rack of Fiesta-ware plates, cups and cutlery…


  5. My favorite glass broke recently in my ruthlessly efficient dishwasher. It was a simple glass from a fundraiser where my daughters singing was featured. It probably cost them five cents. I say there staring at it as if I’d lost a friend. I get it!


  6. Dad, bad news. Remember the Great 1106 Flood of 2014? The recliner was one of the casualties. I thought I told you, but you may have repressed it.


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