My parents have owned the same house for more than 25 years. When I visit, it’s like a trip back in time. I sleep on the same Laura Ashley bedsheets. And every morning, I pull my favorite glass out of the kitchen cabinet and fill it with milk.
The glass came from a Hardee’s, free or discounted with a fried chicken meal. It was probably the best thing we ever got from that place.
Six inches tall, three inches in diameter, the glass is covered in a snowy, vaguely Currier-and-Ives scene. I can’t explain why I found myself so enamored of it. The glass doesn’t make the milk taste better. It doesn’t keep the milk any colder.
Maybe it was how it felt like my romanticized notion of New England, a snowy Vermont village where everyone knows everyone else. Or how it reminded me of the cozy comfort of the Christmas season, even though I’m Jewish. Or how it always seemed to hold the perfect amount of milk.
Today, though, I know its appeal. It reminds me of my childhood. Of getting ready for school. Of hanging out with my mom in the morning. So when I drink from it, I am engaging in a ritual that ties me to the place I’ve long since left.
Certain rules have developed around the glass. It must be used only at breakfast. It must contain only milk. And I am the only one who uses the glass. Not that I would mind someone else drinking from it. I just don’t think anyone ever has.
The glass is probably pushing 20 years, if not more. It has survived my clumsiness and an untold number of dishwasher cycles. We have not yet discovered its Kryptonite, and I hope we never do.
You can imagine the pressure I put on my parents when I asked them to mail me the glass so I could write about it. But my dad’s combination of foam, bubble wrap, plastic and cardboard worked. I’ve seen children secured with less care.
I feel a disturbance in the Force, though. The glass does not belong here. Soon I’ll be back in Richmond for a visit, and I can ferry it home. Well wrapped, of course.