Saturday, May 15, 2010

The Blue Willow Plate - A Magpie Tale

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.
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Helen said...

Ok, enough already ... this made me cry. So wonderful ~ your Magpie!

Sandy said...

wow, love it...

kathew said...

what a great story! One that I can learn from! "it's only stuff" right?

Yemalla said...

This is a fabulous story! I loved it very much, not just because it was well written, but because it is a wonderful lesson for us all! Thank you for posting this. It is a true treasure. (And I dare say that it is your Magpie that fared much better than mine.) Excellent! Namaste!

Brian Miller said...

her finest moment as a grandmother indeed. i loved it....and if you need anything broken and tommy's not great magpie!

christine said...

What a delightful story I was there with the two old women, loved it, loved it!


willow said...

Beautiful. I can't bear to throw away my broken shards. I have a huge crock full of them. Some day I'll do something creative with them!

brenda said...

A piece of kindness shown when punishment is expected can make a lasting impression. This is a great reminder. Love love love! Thank you.

Enchanted Oak said...

What a wonderful grandmotherly thing to do. This is a lovely tale. It made me smile...

lucychili said...

lovely. I know someone who broke up a willow plate to make a mosaic with the right memories =)

Shirley Landis VanScoyk said...

EXACTLY! Exactly why I told my sisters they can have all my mother's things. I don't want to be held captive by a plate.

Everyday Goddess said...

pass the kleenex, what a great story.

i'm going to view further mishaps just like that! what a relief indeed.

Berowne said...

Creative, imaginative treatment. Well done.

Sue J said...

I really enjoyed this CC :) I can so relate to the 'moving' part of the story. I am currently emptying Uncle Bill's flat......and he could hoard for Australia and win gold!
I intend to join in the Magpie challenge each week when all the dust settles.

joanny said...

A wonderful story -- and more importantly -- wonderful values made possible with love and wisdom.


Tumblewords: said...

A truly wonderful magpie tale!

Jingle said...

passionate magpie!

Rosy said...

"This little short story is wonderful" A perfect example how easy it is to let something go forever without any guilt!

Aoife.Troxel said...

Stuff's only stuff right? It think if you can use it, like a heirloom tablecloth, keep it and when you use it, you can remember. There's just no point displaying things...especially with mischievous grandchildren around! Great Magpie.

Patience said...

What a heart warming story! Grandmas like Annie are the best. Great moral: people are more important than things. Heirlooms really can be a burden sometimes too. Great Magpie!

be said...
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