“Drink because you are happy,
but never because you are miserable.”
G.K. Chesterton, Heretics
I have finally figured out our problem…the reason for all the current lack of civility,
violence, looting, hating that is sickening our nation…
It’s PUNCH CUPS!!!
Yep punch cups…
We no longer have, let alone use, punch cups!!
You know, those demure little glass cups that accompany a crystal punch bowl?
You know…those little glass cups your grandmother always used during the holidays
when all the family gathered together…at her house.
Be it wassail, eggnog, or Chatham’s artillery punch…
Oh and don’t forget that floating ice-ring.
My mother just did a flip flop in her grave over my mentioning ice-rings.
She tried her best…but Lord knows, they never popped out as they should.
More slushie and unattractive vs the pictures in her SoutherLiving cookbooks.
Bamming and Bamming that mold on the counter trying to loosen the ring…
but I digress.
And I would bet that you were probably too little and don’t really remember
those little punch cups…
And because you were little, the grown-ups didn’t let you use those little cups–
they were fearful you’d drop one and Heavens forbid, you’d break Grandmother’s
special glass cups.
You were relegated to a jelly jar or dixie cup.
And if the punch was alcoholic, you were offered chocolate milk
or perhaps some kool-aid or Hi-C punch or maybe a Coca-Cola.
If they were feeling festive, you may have even gotten ginger ale with
a single bright red maraschino cherry floating festively amongst the bubbles.
Punch cups speak of day’s gone by…
they whisper of afternoon teas, luncheons, showers, and special gatherings.
This all came to mind when I was cleaning out the laundry room.
We’ve started the arduous task of purging.
We are beginning to clean out this 37-year life of ours with 21 on those 37 years
in our current house.
It’s time to lighten the load in anticipation of a potential spring
change—relocating, downsizing, tightening the ship!
So as I began this insurmountable task this morning, I found an old punch bowl…
not the nice one mind you, but more of a backup…it was one of my grandmothers…
my mom’s mom seems more like the previous owner vs my dad’s mom as she was a bit more frufru.
I’ve got that pretty one in the dining room…this one was the battleship
vs the cruise liner…heavy and sturdy rather than frilly and delicate.
And as I was gathering the cups from various cabinets and hiding spaces…that’s when
it hit me like a ton of bricks…our current culture’s entire trouble is they/we
have no punch cups…or no real knowledge, let alone experience, with punch cups.
For punch cups harken to a time when we celebrated holidays and occasions with
those dear and near-sacred family heirlooms, be they cut class, crystal or pressed glass
or even something really special…silver or more likely silver plate.
They were pulled out of storage, washed and even polished to participate
in a generational ritual…the sharing and celebrating of our lives as a family.
Christmas, Chanukah, births, showers, birthdays, weddings…
And thus these innocuous little punch cups are equated to something so much more…
they represent family and the celebration of family.
We have sadly forgotten such.
We have become entirely too angry, too self-consumed, too divided.
What happened to punch cups?
What happened to celebrations?
What happened to family?
Long live the punch cups!
Train up a child in the way he should go;
even when he is old he will not depart from it.
There is more to say on this subject but my intetnet is down and this phone just drives me crazy. I’ll be back.
When we moved to Pennsylvania 24 years ago, I put our punch bowl and associated cups (in its original box, but used) in our basement. I have moved the box many, many times as I have rearranged stuff in storage. The odd thing is that I have never opened the box to see if the movers broke anything?!?!?! You are correct on this one. The total collapse of our modern society is due to not using enough punch cups, and my wife and I are among the key contributors.
But at least you still have them as you know deep down of the connective bond!!!
My china cabinet proudly sits in the corner of my dining room and behind those pretty glass doors is an entire set with the crystal punch bowl and 12 of those little punch cups. The set was given to me as a wedding present way back in 1970. Have I ever used them? No, but they sure are pretty. 🙂 So the demise of our society started many years ago and has grown to what is our sorry state of family and values today.
And like me, you still have it Sue— a connective bind to who we once were
Punch cups were the first to go when we downsized. I think I used the punch bowl on several occasions in our early years of marriage. When life became more complicated, we relegated the punch set to the basement. Like many of the treasures from our past, they were being replaced with casual dining and entertaining. Whenever I plan a party today, I have a fond memory of those special dinners with the Noritake China, once owned by grandma – the crystal water goblets and wine glasses from great grandma – white linen table cloths with matching napkins. I think there’s much truth in your headline. We’ve lost some of our grace by giving up some of these old customs.
Ahh the linen placemats and napkins— there’s another component right there!!!
And napkin rings – finger bowls – cucumber sandwiches and separate forks for salad, main course and dessert. Oh my, the list goes on of a forgotten culture.
I use to love the ritual
Manners, respect, good behavior, etc.
Ahhh, the good old days
This is peo a my the best thing I’ll read all week. We are punch cup ladies living in Big Gulp world. Bring back grandmas crystal candy dish with those cups please. ❤️
punch cup ladies in a Big Gulp world. That is a fantastic name for a blog. Any takers? Let me know, I’ll be your first follower.
Wow, that’s a blast from the past. Good memories though, bring on the punch cups!
Julie, what an inspired topic. Mine are long gone. Don’t know where they came from nor where they went. Maybe it helps a little that I would rather serve company out of jelly jars than to use those big old red plastic cups that won’t dry in the dish washer! Send me your jelly jars all ye who pass by.
LOL! Well done, Julie! You are so right. I used to treasure punch bowls and tea sets. That is definitely what is wrong with the world, there is not enough fine china and we have forgotten to use the good stuff because we have forgotten that everything is a special occasion.
Time to celebrate “family “!!
We have two punch bowl sets, both complete with cups and ladles, in storage (a side room off the garage). Both sets were wedding gifts. I don’t think they’ve seen the light of days in twenty years. Maybe we should get them out for Labor Day weekend when the children come to visit. Do you think that will turn the corner on this journey we are all taking? J.
Maybe if we all pull them out of storage and raise a glass of cheer for us all ☺️
Julie, I ADORE this post!! We went through the purging-stint 6 years ago with a down-size of our own. Let go of atleast 1/3 of our belongings & it was the most liberating thing. EVER. We certainly saved our children a lot of work when the long-game is over, giggles! Any-who, I did manage to save ONE punch-bowl set. It’s of the milk-white variety and I do love getting it out for the holidays…but your post has inspired me! My mom celebrates her birthday this weekend and I’m USING THE PUNCH BOWL! (Even though she & I are on the opposite side of the aisles in the political line, giggles.) Hugs to you for the inspiration to lift our cups together, despite the political divide!!
Even though she is a bit lost on the wrong side of the fence, yes, celebrate her with a festive bowl of punch 🙂