The Red Cup

I’m sure we’ve all heard the brouhaha over the red cup.

red cup 1

Oh no, not those red cups, these, and in particular, the ones Starbucks introduced this holiday season without the snowflakes and other decorations.

red cup 2

Yes, seriously.

I typically try to avoid any controversial subjects in this blog, but I thought, just this once, I’d see what the ancestors have to say about the topic of the red cup, with or without the snowflakes and reindeer.

I often wonder what my ancestors would think of questions and problems in my life and times, so I “interviewed” a few of my ancestors and asked them what they thought of the red cup.

James Crumley, my Quaker ancestor who died in 1764 owning a still, several gallons of liquor and with a bunch of people owing him money:

“Red cups?  Great – we can put hard cyder in them with some cinnamon and charge five pounds.  You can put it on account.”

Edward Mercer, my Quaker ancestor who got thrown out of the Quaker church for excessive drinking in 1759.  By the way, his daughter married the son of neighbor, James Crumley, above:

“Red, who cares.  What’s in the cup?”

Ann Mercer, Edward’s wife:

“Oh for Heavens sake Edward, haven’t you gotten in enough trouble already???”

Johann Michael Mueller, my Pietist ancestor:

“Red is too bright.  Are there black or brown cups?”

John David Miller, my Brethren ancestor who requested his gravestone not be highly polished:

“The cup is too shiny.  Is there a duller version?”

Evaline Miller Ferverda, my Brethren great-grandmother:

“Sinful, it’s all sinful.  Red, coffee, shiny – if it’s pretty and you like it – it’s sinful.”

William George Estes, my bootlegging grandfather:

“Put some whiskey in that coffee.  Oh, was the cup red?

Sarah Faires Speak, my ancestor who had 76 grandchildren:

“I’m a widow living with my daughter and have nothing to give my grandchildren for Christmas.  I think 76 red cups would be wonderful.  I can’t write, either, so writing their names on each one would be perfect?  No snowflakes, don’t worry – the kids can decorate them.”

Philip Jacob Kirsch, the proprietor of the Kirsch House in Aurora, Indiana:

“The customers would love red cups!  Bring ‘em on.  Beer is good in any color cup.”

King Henry IIIHenry III shield

“Red is a royal color.  Let’s put my shield on the cup?”

Fairwick Claxton, my ancestor who disowned his children who had abandoned him.”

“Only Samuel should get a red cup.  The rest of you should have no cups at all.”

Agnes Muncy Clarkson, Fairwick’s wife:

“I begged Fairwick to give red cups with snowflakes to everyone, but alas, he would not hear of it.  Perhaps you could have some red cups with no snowflakes?”

Moses Estes, “distiller of fine brandy and cyder”:

“Why put coffee in that cup?  Brandy would be much better.”

George Estes, my Revolutionary War Veteran who served three different terms of service in the same war:

“It’s cold as hell out here and I’d give anything to have a hot cup of any beverage in any color cup.”

John Y. Estes, prisoner of war during the Civil War”

“Could I eat the cup?”

My mother, Barbara Jean Ferverda, who survived the depression…and my father.

“Five dollars for a cup of coffee and the cup is disposable????!!!!!!!”

My father, William Sterling Estes, who had multiple wives at the same time and was not Mormon:

“Can I please get several cups?  Oh, names?  Uhhh…just write “Merry Christmas” on all of them.”

Personally, I think they should just put a double helix on the cup – because everyone, without fail, has one of those – and it is what unites us all:)



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48 thoughts on “The Red Cup

  1. Roberta, this is so great. Love reading you blog. I know that somehow the Hemphills have to be related beyond Louis Hemhill’s connection to the autosomal DNA of your cousin.

    We now have new terminals for the Hemphill Surname Group (includes some Hillis and Hillhouse folk) I-Y8599* and I-Y8600 and are attempting to locate SNPs in between. We have come a long way from the Ancestry YDNA days. Hope FTDNA will get their act together to start new haplogroup designations and maybe incorporate some of the research from projects.

  2. BRAVO! Thank you very inspiring. I mean we bring our ancestors back to life and they live through the genetics we have inherited from them. So, why not have fun and I think the red cups should all be decorated and filled to the top with brandy. After all, it is the holiday season! Happy Thanksgiving and soon, Merry Christmas (and I do not care whom it offends). LOL

  3. I was so irritated by the red cup thing until I read this. Thanks for the laugh and the loving double helix ending!

  4. Snow, white? There wasn’t any snow with Jesus was born! Sand all around, doesn’t matter when they say he was born there was no snow in that area? And where did the Holly come in, maybe the Wise men had some stuck away in their green robe’s or on the camels?

  5. That was fun and refreshing! Today was first time I have received your blog in my inbox. Thanks for making it a memorable start!

  6. Thanks for the laugh! Great post. So think there are more important things to worry about.
    Oh, and hope you have a Merry Christmas! 🙂

  7. Love this. Made me start thinking about how some of my ancestors would reply. Mormor, my Swedish gr-grandmother would say something like: Oy, oy, oy! Who cares about the cup color or if it’s decorated….Just fill it with the best coffee you have. We Swedes love our coffee. Seriously, I can’t understand all the hub-bub.

  8. Okay, it’s not falling down laughing, but I thought it was kinda cute. And of course I’ve read Roberta’s blogs about each of those ancestors.

    Love, Mom

  9. This is hilarious! But you see what you see in this story. And it is appreciated that you know them as well as you do. Thanks!


  10. I enjoyed everything about your essay, the wit, creativity, tone, message, and fleshing out of the characters of your ancestors and their times. Superb!

  11. Roberta , LOVED THIS ! A fun read. Thanks for the laugh, your bootleggers in TN and mine on my paternal grandmother’s line in Letcher County, Kentucky had all the same sentiments I am sure. My Quakers on my mother’s side echo the more pious ancestors reasoning.

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