My Valuable Mug


One of my favorites and most enduring Christmas gifts, came from my daughter who knows her mother well. She also knows how to find the place to order unusual items on line. On that Christmas morning, I tore through many wraps of Christmas paper in a large box to find a small cup-sized box resting snugly. Cup-sized was accurate for what it contained was an outstanding coffee mug, black with gold letters. The wording on the cup did not include my name or any honor for me, but it was completely accurate and appropriate on that holiday in the early weeks of the pandemic:

"I DON’T NEED THERAPY, ALL I NEED IS TO GO TO SWAINSBORO". Much cheaper than an hour with a therapist, and it works for me, instantly leading me back to a special time.

I sat on a high limb in the front yard Mulberry tree and fumed at the reasons I thought my mother was unfairly angry with me. My mind was full of the injustice. I could have used a therapist. Just as I was ready to share my pain with her, she came out and called, “Shirley, come to supper.” The smell of fried chicken eliminated my need for therapy. Swainsboro therapy was practiced on the porch swing or by making toad frog houses which involved packing the wet mud beside the ditch around your foot and slowly removing it to leave a perfect little house for a toad to inherit. Calmness prevailed when I walked inside the marble walls of the “real courthouse.” Therapy requires patience to sort out the thoughts cluttering your outlook. Many times, I feel the need to go to Swainsboro. I’d spend the night with Annette, and we would talk until the wee hours. I’d have dinner (noon time) at the Coleman House with Bobby Sasser, and talk about the ditch and building those toad frog houses. Taking a ride down Church Street, I would recall who used to live in each house. Every morning I can now take this trip back home as I savor my mug of coffee. It is always filled with the “eight o’clock” that my mother ground and brought home from Swainsboro’s first super market, A & P Tea store. Write to Shirley at


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