I wrote a little story for today's post. It's about a mother and daughter. The daughter's name is Anita, and I'm certain the resemblance stops there. I have no doubt that Anita of Far Above Rubies is far sweeter to her mom than the inquisitive young lady you're about to meet.
Read on. I hope you enjoy:
"King and Queen"
Just as Emily was putting the finishing touches on her table, she heard a little tap-tap at the mudroom door. Anita entered, as usual, without waiting to be invited. “What’s all this, Mom?” she asked, as her eyes focused on the table in the sunroom.
“Well, what does it look like? I’m just setting a simple table for two for your daddy and me.” “Simple?” Anita exclaimed. “And where’d you get these dishes? Have you been shopping again?”
“No, I haven’t been shopping – this time. I was cleaning out the guest room closet and found them in a box on the top shelf.
They were my mama’s. Pope Gosser ‘American Ivy.’ She got them when she married in the late 40s. She loved them -- used them every single day for years.
Quite a few of the serving pieces are still in good shape, but most of the dinner plates were chipped or broken, or the gold was rubbed off from all those years of hand-washing and drying. “
“Why’d you drag out all that old silver? Nobody uses silver anymore – too much trouble to polish it!”
“Well I still like silver and, as you can see, I didn’t polish it. A little tarnish here and there gives it character,” Emily laughed.
“Why are you sitting so far apart? Did you and Dad have a fight or something?”
“No, Miss Smarty Pants, we did not have a fight!
Once in a while, we used to sit at opposite ends of this long table. It was before you were born. We thought it was fun to imagine we’d be rich someday and have a maid serving us dinner.”
“And why are you using that ratty old lace thing?”
“It is not ‘ratty!’ It’s just old. It was Mama’s mama’s only lace tablecloth. I love it because of the holes and the stains. It’s earned every single one of them. Besides, it’s perfect for something like this – no need to worry about messing it up. I cut ivy and Vinca minor to decorate on the table. And the crepe myrtle in the centerpiece is shedding already. “
“OK, that makes sense. I hate to sound negative, but should I be worried? There are two decanters of rosé and two bottles of white on the table! Unless that’s pink Kool-Aid, I have to ask -- are you and Dad alcoholics now or something?”
“No, silly, I’m going to chill the white for later. That sweet young couple next door is coming over. I just wanted an excuse to use the silver champagne buckets. Your daddy’s going to feed their dog while they’re on vacation, and they’re coming over to bring the key and the instructions.
Before you ask, there are two coffee carafes, because there’s regular after-dinner coffee for me and decaf for your daddy. His doctor told him to cut back on caffeine.”
“What are you serving?”
“It’s a one-dish meal. I’m making Mama’s famous chicken casserole, and I’ll keep it warm in the chafing dish. We’ll have a salad first, and I’ve made Cousin Clevie’s lemon icebox pie for dessert.”
“Yes, Mama’s cousin, Clevie Delilah from Louisville, sent all of us the recipe years ago. She always wrote little notes on the recipe cards. This one said, ‘This is the pie I ate a whole one by myself. Nearly laid myself out, too!’ You know it has to be good, with a recommendation like that!”
“How can you and Dad see each other over those flowers and candles?” You even put the flowers up on a little pedestal!”
“Honey,” Emily said smiling, “after 35 years together, your daddy and I both know what the other looks like. It’s been established! It’ll be nice. I’ll put on some soft, relaxing instrumental music.”
“How will you hear each other, sitting so far away?” “Anita, you’ll understand someday. It’s called ‘companionable silence.’ When you’ve been married to someone for 35 years, you’ve used up all your best material. It’s a pleasure to just relax and enjoy the quiet companionship. I know it’s a foreign concept to you at this point in your life.”
“Hey, I’m quiet sometimes. I often suffer in silence!” Emily gave her one of those “I’m your mother; don’t try to kid me” looks, and they both burst into mirthful laughter.
“Well, it’s pretty. I do like those dishes. Wait, two gravy boats? Are you putting gravy on the casserole?”
“No, honey, it’s for the salad dressing. It’s the same principle as putting inexpensive wine in pretty decanters to make it look more festive. I’ll put bottled balsamic vinaigrette for the salads in the gravy boats, and your daddy will think it’s homemade!”
“I know it’ll look nice when you light the candles. I sort of wish I didn’t already have dinner plans.”
“You run along. This is a table for two, remember? I’ll have you and Clint over for dinner one night next week. We’ll use Aunt Sally’s dishes. They were in the closet too! This is her wedding crystal, Fostoria ‘Laurel.’ It’ll be yours someday.”
“Bye, Mom. Love you!” And, with a quick hug and a kiss on her mother’s cheek, she was out the door …
Emily returned to the task at hand. It was almost time to put the casserole in the oven.
She began singing softly to herself, thinking of Adam and what he'll say when he sees the seating arrangement. He'll know I'm playing "King and Queen of the Castle."
It'll be like when we were newlyweds.
Please join Susan of Between Naps on the Porch for Tablescape Thursday. It's her 100th consecutive Tablescape Thursday! Happy anniversary, Susan! Thank you for the inspiration, the endless array of "eye candy," the creativity, and the camaraderie your delightful meme always provides!
My table this week began with a suggestion from Susan. I told her my new/old set of ivy dishes was missing a few dinner plates. I was thinking in terms of mixing & matching. She asked, "Why don't you just set a table for two?" And so I did!
Thank you, Susan, and thank you to everyone who visits and takes a moment to leave a comment. I appreciate you more than I can say!