So my New Years resolution for 2015 has been to get my apartment in order – and that is no small task. On the “to do” list is paring down bunches of items I’ve collected over the years – including the small hoard of shot glasses acquired through my travels.
I already tried sifting through troves of books, figurines and hockey memorabilia to weed out stuff of unsentimental value. So far, after following my heart through shelves and shelves of books, I’ve been able to bring myself to give away (drumroll, please…) only one. I’m also the owner of just about every kind of duck-related tchotchke – ceramic ducks, duck pencils, duck notepads, a duck salt and pepper shaker, and even tissues with ducks on them. That’s because the bird has long sort of been my totem, and thoughtful friends (two in particular!) have kept me hooked up duck-wise for decades – and I don’t see how I can be expected to let any of such a special collection simply fly the coop. And, being a huge hockey fan (the best game you can name), there’s no way I can unload anything hockey related.
So that leaves these shot glasses I used to love picking up as little vacation mementos. They’re fun and everything but, sadly, shelf space is limited (please see “books” and “ducks” above), plus it’s kind of a pain to keep them dusted – or I’m thinking it would be if I took the trouble. Anyway, maybe with some cold, hard assessing, I could whittle the lot down at least to a respectable size.
Well, hm. Some of the glasses have to do with hockey – like the one from Wayne Gretzky’s restaurant in Toronto, and ones from Squaw Valley and Lake Placid where, twenty years apart, two U.S. Olympic hockey “Miracles on Ice” took place.
Like I said, anything hockey is off the table. That’s just the way it is. (Please see “the best game you can name” above – and that goes for the pillow in the background that I made by hand stitching together two L.A. Kings Stanley Cup Playoff towels, which I think shows I’m resourceful rather than, like, obsessed or generally unwise with my time.)
Now, the glass from Alaska (well, it’s metal) isn’t really about hockey – but it’s tied to it for sure. I got it while playing in a women’s hockey tournament in Anchorage with my travel team, the L.A. Chill. We did a little exploring beforehand, including in the town of Seward which has the distinction of being the starting point of the Iditarod Trail. While bar hopping along the town’s main street (as teams do), we were introduced to this drink called a “Duck Fart” – a combination of equal parts whisky, Bailey’s and Kahlua. I was sure this was a joke played on visitors (people from “outside”) but it’s a genuine drink! And while the color and consistency might not be altogether pleasing, it’s pretty darn delicious. We became so fond, in fact, that we incorporated the drink into our rallying cheer throughout the tournament, putting our hands in together and hollering “Duck Farrrrt!” before the start of every period. Maybe it was just skill and teamwork that won us our division – but I’m pretty sure the cheer played a role.
Friends have been kind enough over the years to make contributions to my collection to show they’d thought of me during their travels. Like the one I got from a friend’s trip to New Mexico where she stopped by the Kit Carson Home and Museum. Being fond of the Old West, I’m pleased to have a glass that recalls those exciting days before our country was tamed – and clearly before there was spell-check.
Another dear friend brought back for me a beautiful glass from one of her trips to Venice, Italy. If I filled it with anything, it would have to be Bellinis (Prosecco and peach puree) as she liked to order them at Harry’s Bar – a favorite Venetian hangout for her and Ernest Hemingway! I think I’ll just treasure this one though rather than actually use it. It’s too colorful. Too vibrant. Too special.
Plenty of other glasses do represent my own travels. Like the one I procured while on an amazing cruise with the folks that included Turkish ports of call. In Istanbul and Kusadasi, we were treated to incredible surveys of architecture and history as calls to prayer blared forth from many a skinny and stately minaret, adding to the atmosphere. On a bus ride to the ancient city of Ephesus, our tour guide explained that shot glasses shouldn’t have been useful to faithful locals as they weren’t supposed to have a single drop of alcohol. However, some covered themselves on this she said by pinching a thumb and forefinger into a glass of their drink of choice and simply removing this offending drop – and that left them free to enjoy the rest.
Mum and Dad have been so generous in taking me along on some truly wonderful trips, including two to the land of Mum’s ancestors – Finland. That’s where I couldn’t pass up this rugged and stony shot vessel which impressed me, as did so many of the experiences I had in a country full of enchanting natural splendor and heritage, by being beautiful, functional and original all at the very same time.
On adventures like these, it was our pleasant habit to review events of the day over afternoon tea or a nightcap (although, Dad preferred nightcaps which he figured were less girly). Over “snorts” of scotch during our Finland flings, we’d recall the delight of warming ourselves by a massive Midsummer’s bonfire, surveying a lofty ski jump (where I stood at the tip-top contemplating the princely sum it would take ever to get me to start down one), surveying a lakeside ancestral home with decaying timbers that gave it a melancholy charm, and the sweet simplicity of devouring fresh strawberries on a park bench under the Helsinki sunshine.
And that’s the thing with these glasses. It’s not about the booze. Okay it’s not just about the booze. The glasses represent sharing and talking over grand old times with beloved family and friends. Maybe just saving pictures of them would call the memories to mind – or I could try to pen a little description of each for posterity. But that wouldn’t be remotely the same as holding to the light such a brilliant example of Venetian craft and being dazzled by its shine. Or the same as appreciating the heft, workmanship and sturdy grace of that piece of Finnish artistry by holding it in my hand.
Nope. Nothing matches the real deal. So I gotta keep ’em. I gotta keep ’em all.
I’ll just have to get a bigger duster (although as to using it, well, please see above…).