Thursday, September 26, 2013

The China Cup

-Take your time and, Rosemary, be careful. 

On Mum and Dad's nights to host Bridge Club, it was my job to set out the cups for tea and coffee.  Housed behind glass doors in the buffet, they were strictly off limits in the course of daily living.  Those cups were Mum's pride and joy.

internet, stock photo

Every time I opened those buffet doors, it was like opening a treasure chest.  Gingerly, I transfered one cup at a time from the buffet to the dining room table.  The piled saucers were a challenge, because they didn't nestle securely together--not one was a duplicate of any other.  Two hands and baited breath were needed to move them to the safety of the table top.  Then the fun would begin.

Here was the small, pink one, with the raised design.  Where was it's matching saucer?  Oh, the lime green one with the white polka dots--my favourite.  It seemed there were dozens of cups to match with the appropriate saucer, each one different from all the others.   Wide, shallow cups.  Deep, small cups.  Solid colours.  Floral patterns.  There was even a scottish plaid one that I didn't exactly NOT like, but it was one I didn't linger over.

Mum's collection started when she became engaged to marry.  In the 1940's a single tea cup and saucer was the gift-of-choice for bridal showers.  When I married in 1975, I received 3 crock pots and 2 toaster ovens--not one tea cup.  Alas, my buffet had a matched set of good china, all the cups mirror images of each other. That is how it was for many years...until....

Grandma Grace noticed my plight.  She bequeathed me a Royal Albert cup and saucer.  It was a hand-me-down.  It was old.  It was BEAUTIFUL.  I loved and cherished that one special cup and believed my collection had begun at last.

Not many moons after that thoughtful bequest, Mum and I were ensconced in the living room with tea and cookies, catching up on life with busy families.  The kiddos were all outside with the dog.  The men were in the kitchen doing manly things.  We were enjoying that peaceful lull before suppertime madness would set in.  Our peaceful interlude was rudely interrupted with a shattering crash from the other room.  We looked at each other in mild surprise.

-What was that?

-Not to worry.  It was only an old tea cup.


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