Then one day it disappeared. I was sad, but in the chaos of packing to leave I didn't think too much about it. And it saved me the guilt I would have felt if I'd taken the mug as a souvenir. I discovered later that one of those near and dear to me had a similar thought and kept if for herself in memory of me and my love for it:
That would be Mrs. Erica Sue Stubblefield, folks. I remember discovering her thievery after leaving California and being so touched.
This last weekend while staying at her house I went to the cupboard to find the perfect mug for tea [throat coat in particular because I did so much talking with friends my throat was sore]. I had completely forgotten that she had the mug at her house and was so excited to revisit it. I used it for all my beverages that weekend. I even took a commemorative picture:
Yes. It is [almost] exactly like Erica's. Yes. That is on purpose.
I love you friend, in all your thievery. And even though Santa Cruz was lonely without you, this mug helped keep my metaphorical cup very full.