Saturday, June 04, 2005

The good china

There's just something wrong about drinking tea out of a heavy glass coffee mug. So, it's already afternoon, I'm drinking a cup of raspberry green tea out of one of my grandmother's china cups.

I'd like to say it makes me feel closer to her. Unfortunately, my grandparents never agreed with my Mom's decision to marry my dad and there was a rift that never healed in that family. Do I blame my grandparents? Partly. I mean, my Dad is easily my hero. So for me to know that my grandparents never approved is a bit hard.

Grandpa passed away in the late 90's. He was in his late nineties. I didn't attend the funeral, and now I feel some guilt over that. He was a tough old scotsman. I still remember the phone call from Mom and attempting to get a flight to winnipeg to attend the funeral. Neither my brother or I attended.

The year my brother got married, a friend of the families also got married back where Mom grew up so we all went out. And for the first time, my brother's wife and my ex both met my grandma. She hugged my ex. There was just something about him that made everyone want to give him a hug. We all chuckled about that afterwards. And I started to learn more about my grandma. As my uncle went through their stuff, he sent stuff to Mom. Out of that I received newspaper clippings. Pictures from bonspiels I'd placed in, my grad picture from the local paper, the announcement of my scholarship to DeVry. My brother recevied the same stuff. All of these memories. Things I didn't realize Grandma even knew about - or cared about.

But she did. And my brother and I repaid her by having little to nothing to do with her. And a year after we were out there for the wedding, we were back for a funeral. Dad talked to us a bit about the situation and I started to learn that maybe the whole dispute wasn't my grandparents' fault, entirely. Mom had made mistakes and she was stubborn.

So, today I drink tea out of china handed down to me by a woman I hardly knew.

The china does remind me of a wonderful neighbor we had growing up. By neighbor, I mean she lived about 5 miles away, if not further. Mom and I would often go over and have tea with Barb. And every time, we drank tea out of real china tea cups. We sat around that wonderful kitchen table drinking tea and snacking on whatever Barb had recently baked. Barb. When I graduated high school, she gave me a beautiful pendant she'd made. She was like a grandmother to me a lot of times. Just a very sweet woman.

Not that I needed another Grandma. Grandma Kelly lived in the same yard as us for a few years when I was growing up. She looked after my brother and I during the busy seasons. I'll never forget when she and (great) Aunt Grace tried to make a lemon loaf. The only one I ever remember Grandma making. Maybe it's because that one was such a failure. I'm sure it would've tasted fine, but it didn't rise at all.

Grandma was "Grandma Grandma" to some of my friends too. Not sure how we ended up with that name for her. Once they moved into town, My brother and I would head over there if we forgot our lunch, or just didn't feel like eating another packed sandwich. We could count on Grandma and Grandpa having soup and sandwiches every day and always putting another bowl on the table for us.

When Mom and Dad went away, my brother and I would stay with our grandparents in town. We'd play cards, play pool, watch TV, go swimming (they conveniently lived a block from the pool). When I was a teenager, my boyfriend and I would go to Grandma and Grandpa's regularly to play Canasta and Cribbage with them. Time has passed and it's hard watching them slow down year after year. We still play cards with them, but no more games that require a lot of thought or memory. Golf is out because Grandma just doesn't enjoy it. So where once we played games like go fish and old maid because my brother and I couldn't learn more complicated games, we're back to playing games like 5 in a row with my grandparents because they can't remember complicated games anymore.

I've been told quite often that I'm like Grandma in so many ways. Appearance, personality, and attitude being big ones. And our laughter. We both love to laugh. But she rarely uses china. Special occasions is about it.

I have china. My own and some from my grandmother. Mom has more from Grandma for me. I get my pick of three sets. Some is old and irreplacable. One set I've been able to rarely find online and it's very hard to even get information about it. That, I wouldn't use. It's beautiful,fine china. And I've decided that's the set I'll take. Impractical, yes. But I'm allowed a little bit of impracticality. I'll still use the other china. Bits and pieces acquired here and there. Teacups like the one I'm drinking out of this morning. That make me think of the fine, strong women in my life who participating in making me who I am.

Now I feel the need to go bake something.


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