Over the last many months I have been helping my mother prepare to relocate. We have spent hours choosing the furniture she will take and trying to determine how many dishes, glasses, and cookie sheets she’ll really need.
Dusty and dirty after spending the day cleaning the garage, we found ourselves in the dining room at the end of the day. I looked at the huge breakfront overflowing with crystal, silver, and china. I opened the glass door and took out a piece of bisque colored china.
“Do you want to take it with you?” I asked.
“That’s Limoges,” she said. “One of dad’s patients gave it to him after he delivered her baby.”
“And these?” I held up two tall crystal vases. Certainly one would do in a smaller place.
“Keep them both,” she said.
“Because I like them,” she answered.
On we went sorting through soup tureens, more vases, statues of ballerinas, and teacups. It was the teacups that enthralled me and the work slowed as I set them on the dining room table, one after another. Some had fluted edges and others were like little pot-bellied stoves. My favorite cup was sleek and modern with a shallow bowl. It was made of porcelain so white and delicate that I could see through it. The sweep of the golden handle made the cup look like a swan. The cups were miss-matched because that was the style in another elegant era.
My mother and I touched the teacups, nudged their saucers, and ran our fingers over tiny raised paintings of roses and lilies. We looked for the china markings and grouped them: Wedgewood, Meissen, Limoges. There were stories about my grandparents, and of my mother growing up in Germany, and of guests coming for lunch.
When we were done, when she had chosen the teacups to take with her, we went to bed to rest up for the next day’s work. As I drifted off, I realized that in the course of getting ready to close the door on a house we had opened the door to memories that could inspire a hundred novels. I had heard tales of hardship, of gratitude, of uncertainty – even danger – but mostly I had heard tales of graciousness, hard work and above all love.
Someday I will write one of these stories. Until then, I will drink my tea from one of her cups and remind myself that the best stories are those that are rich in flavor and best served with style.
A Slice of Orange is an affiliate with some of the booksellers listed on this website, including Barnes & Nobel, Books A Million, iBooks, Kobo, and Smashwords. This means A Slice of Orange may earn a small advertising fee from sales made through the links used on this website. There are reminders of these affiliate links on the pages for individual books.
Heat up the holiday with ten dreamy regency rogues!More info →
Everyone deserves a second change at love.More info →
Enjoy historical fiction? Like short stories? Then dive into this collection of historical shorts by an award-winning author.More info →