The case of the missing mug

Melissa Hart

Coffee mugs have the potential of telling your life story. Gifts, souvenirs, places you’ve been, people you know, they have the ability to spur a story from years past and sometimes you get a mug that you just love.I had one of those mugs. I bought it at one of my many stops at Cracker Barrel while on the road. It was a tan ceramic mug with a rust-colored chicken on the side. As winter set in and my coffee started to cool off quicker in other mugs, this mug was different. When I used that mug, my coffee would stay warmer, longer. Not only was it pretty to look at, it had super warming powers too. This mug was a candidate for the mug hall of fame.In the last few weeks, I noticed that mug had not been in my morning coffee mug rotation and when I started looking for it, I couldn’t find it. I figured it must have found it’s way to the back of the cupboard and it would resurface soon. And it did on Instagram.I opened up the social media app and the first photo I saw was my son’s post of the view from his desk in Washington D.C. and on the right side of his desk was my coveted chicken mug. Two weeks into his new job in the swamp and he had become a coffee mug thief!I immediately texted him and this was the conversation.Me: You stole my chicken mug!JW: I took it a while ago.Me: I know, I’ve been looking for it for a while.JW: I’ll trade you straight up for the ZEBO mug.Me: Now you’re bargaining with a mug you STOLE? Clearly, you’ve been in the swamp too long.JW: Think of it as a hostage negotiation.Me: Unbelievable.JW: Do we have a deal?Me: Of course not! What have you been drinking?JW: Coffee, OUT OF YOUR MUG! HA!He’s coming home soon and he’d better have my mug in his hand. And I’m not giving up the ZEBO mug. Anyone who has been in the purebred dairy business will recognize Zielland Zebo as a bull that was bred by one of my colleagues, Mark Ziel and his family at Zielland Farms in the thumb of Michigan. At one time he was the top TPI bull of the Holstein breed and was widely used in the 1990s. They used his name on one of their souvenir mugs at the National Holstein Convention when Michigan hosted it in the 90s. And that’s not all… it was a gift from a friend in Ohio who gave it to me when they were thinning out their mug collection. It’s a keepsake for sure and I will not negotiate with a mug thief.He has been warned. I’ll let you know how it goes.Melissa is a farmwife, mom and freelance writer residing on a dairy farm in southern Michigan. She is available for speaking engagements by contacting her at Visit her weblog at