Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Diamond Jubilee Tea Set

            It was late afternoon and Mother and Alfred were sitting in the solarium looking out over the devastation in the garden.  Last week’s winter ice storm had killed the roses and the blossoms hung limply from their stems; no longer white and red, but faded yellow and dull pink.  But that was not what was bothering Mother.

            She sat there looking at the High Tea provided by Agnes Findlay, the Scottish Housekeeper.  Not that there was anything wrong with the High Tea.  What can be wrong about home-made scones, Devonshire Cream, and Black Currant Jelly?  And there was certainly nothing wrong with Whittard’s Ginger and Black Leaf Tea!  No, it wasn't that.

            It was the tea cup.  Not that there was anything wrong with the tea cup, after all who could fault a 1952 Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Tea Cup with its marvellous orange gold bone china?

            Mother was holding the tea cup up and looking at the picture of the young queen on the inside of the cup on the opposite side from where a right-handed person would sip.  “That, Alfred,” said Mother, “seems somewhat disrespectful. Pouring tea in a cup right up to the Queen’s crown is just a little odd.”

            A funny look crossed Alfred’s face.  He was never very good at keeping Christmas gifts secret, no matter how hard he tried, not that Mother was very good at that either.  Alfred heaved a sigh, and said, “Well, Mother, I have a Christmas gift for you that I have had tucked away since November.”  With that he scurried off and came back a moment later with a large box wrapped with Lady Rose paper and presented it to Mother.

            “Oh, Alfred,” said Mother, putting down the tea cup.  “What have you done?”

            Alfred put the box down on the table in front of Mother and she gingerly unwrapped the box.  It was labelled, “Royal Collection. Queen’s Jubilee Tea Set” and Alfred had actually had the forethought to remove the price; which is a good thing.

            Mother slowly unpacked the box and loving laid out each item on the table.  “Oh, Alfred,” she said, “how lovely, how very lovely.”

            “Well, Merry Christmas, Mother!” said Alfred.  “I never could keep a secret very well!”

            “Nor, could I,” said Mother.  Then Mother Picked up the Diamond Jubilee tea cup and looked at it thoughtfully for a minute.

            “Mother,” said Alfred, “I wish we had elected Queen Elizabeth II for President.  We would have had a lot less fractiousness in this country.”

            “You know what I wish for? Alfred,” said Mother, “what I wish for, what I really need, is a King for me, just like in that Christmas Card from Grace Whittington, ‘He is King of Kings, and Lord of Lords.’”

            For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”[Isaiah 9:6].


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