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Another Day in the Country

The cup you drink from

© Another Day in the Country

I can tell when I empty the dishwasher just who has been at my house visiting.

If there are miniature drinking glasses in the top tier, I know Madeline has been here.

Ever since she was tiny and I taught her how to get her own drink of water from the front of the refrigerator, she’s been fascinated by miniature glasses in my china cupboard.

I think they are some kind of old shot glass — heavier, thicker glass than most. I found them at an antique store a long time ago. They hold only one real swallow of water — not enough to quench a real thirst — but Madeline, who is now in first grade, loves them and finds them every time she is here.

Even though my sister is a frequent occupant of my house, I know when she’s been here, too.

I wouldn’t have to be present to identify who used those dishes. Jess loves putting a glass dome on top of goodies. She also loves eating popcorn out of a wooden bowl. No one else chooses that big bowl from the back of a turntable under my kitchen cupboards.

Sunday morning, when she comes over for our ritual Sunday morning breakfast, we often have our cousin Carol’s buttermilk pancakes. They are the best pancakes in the world, bar none! Surely, as your friend, I’ve given the recipe to you in this column.

Back to the dishes: Jess always pulls out one of my glass domes (I have two) and puts it over the pancakes. She wants the pancakes to stay warm, but mostly she likes the look of those delicious orbs waiting, under glass, for our consumption.

When my daughter is here, she often goes back to cupboards near the pantry, where all the extra, wonderful, weird, seasonal glass dishes are kept, and picks out a china cup and saucer, covered with roses, and that’s what she drinks her tea or coffee from while she is here.

After she went home from the Christmas visit, I left her cup and saucer setting on the deck in the kitchen. I didn’t put it back away in the laundry room cupboards for weeks. It was almost as if Jana was still here, her fancy teacup waiting.

There are wonderful old treasures on those shelves in the back room — Christmas dishes, Easter tea sets, a collection of old, old china plates — English china, with tiny pink flowers scattered across them. They don’t all match.

Seldom are there enough plates that match for more than three or four place settings. Sometimes it is only a setting for two. For me and my sister, that’s just enough. And there is a place setting for one more. I bought it for my mother.

One day, she confessed to me that she’d always wanted this designer set of dishes that featured apple blossoms, but she never got them. They were just too costly. So, I found a place setting at an antique store in Abilene and gave them to her for her birthday.

I don’t know that she ever used them, but I have them still, and I don’t think I’ve ever used them.

This past weekend, Jess has been gathering all our Valentine themed dishes to adorn her table for a gathering of our friends.

She does this every year, choosing carefully between pink and red as a theme, weighing the look of clear crystal stemware over a deep burgundy color.

It’s not just the glass you drink from but also the plate you eat a sumptuous feast of delights from that elevates the repast to “soul food” — something we all need!

I woke up in the middle of the night last week, remembering I’d wanted to send my daughter something for Valentine’s Day. What could it be? Something to say, “I Love you,” or “I’m thinking of you,” or “I know you, and love who you are.”

And then it hit me. I’ll send Jana that rose teacup and saucer with some instant tea or Korean coffee in the package. She’ll immediately know all those above-listed sentiments when she opens her surprise package.

I tried to go back to sleep, having settled on my mission. But I couldn’t. It was 4:30 in the morning. Did I have the right size box to send it in? Would I have time to get it ready before I needed to set off to teach kids about art? Would the package get there in time?

“I give up,” I said right out loud.

I turned on the light and went out to the kitchen. I found the box, the bubble wrap, the cup, some tea and coffee, a pen, and tape for sealing the package.

I even found some cookies I’d just baked, but, sadly, there was no room for them after everything just barely fit in the box. Then I went back to bed.

We do all kinds of silly things for love, don’t we?

“I won’t even complain that it cost $12.47 to send,” I told my lovely post office lady, laughing at my silly impulse. “It’s well worth it,” on another day in the country.

Last modified Feb. 14, 2024

 

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