Coffee Milk and Hopalong Cassidy

Hopalong coffee mugI’m not a big coffee drinker. I’ve never been one of those people who just have to have their cup of coffee in the morning to get started. (Maybe that’s why I’m a slow starter.) But about once a week or once every two weeks, I’ll get a grande at Starbuck’s at work and add a good helping of half-and-half.

At home, I’ve got my little coffee maker and grinder. I guess I like good coffee. So on a Saturday or Sunday, I’ll grind up a quarter cup of the beans and make coffee, but If I don’t have half-and-half or at least some milk, I’m not going to make coffee. I’m just not going to have coffee without some good “real” dairy product.

I’m pretty sure this all goes back to when I was a kid growing up on the farm. My folks always perked a pot of coffee in the morning. Either Mom or Dad made coffee. I never saw Dad doing any other cooking, but in the morning both of them would be around the kitchen; usually Mom would do most of it, but Dad would be there turning bacon and taking out toast and sometimes making coffee. They always made extra coffee in the morning, set the coffee pot on the back burner of the stove, and reheated what was left for lunch, especially during the cool times of the year. (During the summer, we always had iced tea for lunch and supper.)

Anyway, when I was a little kid, starting around like 4 or 5, I got coffee milk with lunch. Mom would put about a third of a cup of coffee in my cup, fill the rest with milk, add some sugar, and I’d have my coffee milk. I don’t remember it making me feel “grown up” or anything like that, as one might think. I just liked my coffee milk, but I think the main reason was I got to use one of the two white pyrex-type cowboy mugs that we had. I think one was supposed to be mine and one was supposed to be my brother’s, but there was never any controvery (that I remember) about who got which cup. He was older, so I suppose I got whichever cup I wanted, and also, he’d probably stopped drinking out of the “kids” cups. Where we got them, I’m not sure, but they might have been something that came as a prize in a box of oatmeal or maybe my Aunt Lois gave them to us.

hopalong cassidyBut to a kid, these cups were really special. One had a Hopalong Cassidy design on it, and the other, I think, was Red Ryder. Hopalong Cassidy was an early TV cowboy, but Red Ryder was a comic book character. We didn’t have a TV yet in those days, but I remember Hopalong Cassidy because he came to Dorrance on the train. Before television, politicians and actors traveled by train, making stops in almost every town on the line, as a way of getting publicity, and even though Hopalong Cassidy had a TV show, he still did this.

It was a big day in town. All of us kids walked over from the school to the depot, and Hoppy’s train came into town and stopped, and he came out. I don’t have any memory about what he did; he might have sung some songs, because I think he was a singer too. I was just a very little kid, probably in the first grade. I know that we went up there with Mrs. Mullen, my first and second grade teacher. We finally got a TV out on our farm when I was in fifth grade. (I remember the first thing that came on the screen of that TV after we got it hooked up–a Duncan Hines cherry cake mix commercial!) Hopalong Cassidy was still on TV at that time, along with Roy Rogers and other TV cowboys.

I don’t know whatever became of those cups. But sometimes when I make coffee on a morning like this, I think about having my coffee milk in those cups, and the coffee is all the better for having the memories to go with it.

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If you liked this one, you might also like “Hamburger Gravy” and “Puddin’ Meat–Good Food for a Cold Morning”.

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2 Responses

  1. Nice post…you took me down the memory lane…I have always loved my coffee, right from the age of 15 when I first started drinking it. And yes, I always have had a favourite coffee mug..until recently…but reading your post has reminded me of how I have always loved having my favourite coffee in a favorite mug… i definitely am going to go back to doing that….:-)

  2. Sounds like we’ve had some very similar experiences growing up – I was raised on a farm in Iowa in the 1940’s and 50’s and also remember the trips to the outhouse and the sears catalogs 🙂 When my mother passed in 2002, she left a box for me that was filled with childhood things ( baby book, first haircut, school records and pics, etc.) I was recently going through that box and surprise !! One of the memories is my old Hopalong Cassidy coffee mug – still in excellent shape – looks just like your picture except it has black lettering — anyway thanks for the memories !!!!

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