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A souvenir from a place I’ve never been

By Darcy L. Fargo

Darcy Fargo

Sept. 7, 2022

I’ve never been to “Fort Wayne’s Famous Coney Island” in Fort Wayne, Indiana, but a mug from that “oldest hot dog stand in America” is one of my favorites in my collection.

For starters, it’s just a nice mug. It’s heavy, and it has thick walls, and it seems to keep coffee hot for longer than some of my other mugs.

Even more than that, though, I love the mug for what it represents.

The mug was given to me as part of a “Hometown” gift exchange hosted on a social media platform. Much like a “Secret Santa” exchange, users of the platform could sign up to participate. By signing up, you committed to sending a gift worth $20 or more related to the theme to a stranger assigned to you by the platform.

For the “Hometown” exchange, gifts were supposed to represent the sender’s hometown. Participants answered questions during registration to provide some basic preferences and allergies to guide the process.

I sent a gift representing the North Country to a woman in Oregon. I received a package from Fort Wayne, Indiana. My favorite mug was in that package, along with a post card featuring a local scene, gummy worms produced nearby and locally brewed coffee. I loved everything in the package. The post card, candy and coffee are long gone. The mug has been a lasting gift.

So, what does the mug represent? Every time I drink from that mug, I think about that gift exchange, and I’m reminded that people can be loving, kind and generous enough to send gifts to complete strangers. Thinking about that reminds me that God made us all in His image and likeness. Anything made in the likeness of God must be inherently good. People are inherently good. I sometimes forget that. The mug reminds me.

I’m guessing the sender didn’t know that mug would mean so much to me and take on so much significance.

It’s amazing how the Lord sometimes uses little things – brief exchanges, small gifts or items – to touch our hearts and remind us of His big love.

I’m not sure I ever want to go to “Fort Wayne’s Famous Coney Island.” Going there would likely make me think of the hot dog joint when I drink from my mug.

I’d rather think of the gifts.

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