Magpie Tales posts a visual prompt each week and invites others to write a short story or a poem about it. Check it out here.
The two older women sat across from one another at the small kitchen table, coffee cups close at hand. With just a slight turn of their heads they could each view the sunny courtyard on the other side of the twin windows. It was going to be one of those rare perfect days. Warm, but not too hot.
“How are you holding up?”
Annie looked up at her friend Ruth and slowly shook her head. “If I have to move one more time I think I’ll just…."
She didn’t know what she’d do if she had to move again so she let her answer drift off unfinished.
“They always say they’ll help, but they don’t. My seven year old grandson Tommy was more help than all of them combined.”
Ruth nodded her head in agreement. She knew exactly what Annie meant. The younger generation seemed to abhor physical labor. Their intentions were sincere and true, but they all had lousy follow-thru.
“Where is Tommy?” Ruth asked.
“He’s next door playing. They have a couple of kids around Tommy’s age, which is handy. Now he’ll have something to do when he comes over to visit. Grace is going to pick him up later tonight.”
Annie put her hands on the tabletop and pushed her stiff body up, joints creaking. “Gawd, I’m too friggin old for this shit!” she muttered as she shuffled over to the counter. Every muscle yelled at her. She moved the sugar canister and grabbed the pint of brandy from behind it.
“Want some meds?” she asked, waving the bottle a little.
They each poured a little brandy in their coffee. Annie started quietly singing as she added some sugar to her cup.
“Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down, medicine go down… “
Ruth inspected the room.
“Looks like you’ve got everything put up or put away.” She turned her head to look at the whole room again. “Where’s your great grandmother’s plate?”
Ruth was talking about the blue willow plate Annie had always guarded with her life. The one Annie’s mother had handed down to her with great ceremony.
“I don’t have to worry about it any more.”
Ruth’s question displayed on her face. “huh?”
“Well, I was in my bedroom and Tommy was helping by putting things in their proper room. I heard this loud crash and rushed out to the living room to find Tommy standing over a pile of blue and white shards. He was paralyzed with fear. He knew how important that plate was to me.”
“oh no” gasped Ruth.
“Oh Ruthie… you should have seen his poor little face. He looked like someone had just told him that he had killed Bambi!”
“Ohmygawd… what did you do?”
“What could I do? I said Thank you."
Ruth just stared.
“I told him Thank You! I’ve been worrying about that plate for years and years. Now I’m free. Thank you very much! I don’t have to worry about it any more.”
A small smile spread across Ruth’s face as Annie continued.
“I made him clean up the mess, of course, then we walked around the corner to the little café and had a treat. Afterwards Tommy looked at me very seriously and said if I ever needed anything else broken to just let him know and he’ll take care of it for me. I thought that was very sweet of him.”
The two old ladies chuckled as they lifted their cups to toast Annie’s finest hour as a grandmother. And to bid farewell to the blue willow plate.