Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Cup and Saucer (08/28/14)
- TITLE: A Fool For The Kingdom
By JK Stenger
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I met her through a mutual friend a few years ago and she invited me to tea. Her wrinkled countenance radiated peace and joy, as she greeted me at the door.
“Sit down, young man. Make yourself at home while I make tea.” She shuffled to the kitchen.
“My arthritis slows me down sometimes,” she remarked. “But the good Lord’s looking after me. Does He look after you as well?”
“Yes Ma’am, He sure does.” I smiled. “Every day.”
“Excellent, dear! Then I’ll serve you tea from my special tea set.”
After she put the kettle on, she made her way to the cupboard and took out two cups and saucers.
“You’ll drink out of these,” she said.
“They’re beautiful.” I admired the red English rose design and gold trim. “They must be very expensive.”
“I’ve never priced them, but I suppose they must be worth something. They’re Wedgwood, nineteenth century,” Granny answered. “Anyway, they’re worthy of my visitor, a child of the King.”
“What china would you use if I wasn’t a child of the King?”
“This same china.” Granny smiled. “But I would have told you to enjoy it even more.”
“What do you mean by that?”
“These teacups are a little like heaven. Full of beauty and glory. As a child of the King, that’s what you’ll have for eternity. But if you don’t belong to the King, drinking from these cups might be as good as it gets.”
She gave a wistful sigh. “That’s what I told my nephew, Jim. He doesn’t believe in God. Says it’s all superstition. I pray for him every day.”
When she took the remaining pieces of the tea set from the cupboard, I noticed another tea set on a higher shelf.
Granny smiled. “Would you like to see that? It’s my extra-special tea set.”
Gingerly, so as not to chip anything, she handed me one of the cups to look at.
“This is Wedgwood creamware from the 1770s,” said Granny. “See how deep the saucers are? That’s how they were made back then.” The hand-painted design depicted a couple having tea. “John, my husband, gave this set to me when we were married.” Granny was quiet for a moment and stared into the distance as if recalling happy times. “We drank tea from these cups and saucers every morning on the porch while we talked to the Lord. Until he died three years ago.”
“I’m sorry to hear that.”
“I miss him.” She looked at me again with that luminous smile that radiated so much peace. “Now it’s just me and Jesus. Every morning. One cup for Him, the other for me. And during our time together, we talk and laugh and sing. It’s a blessed time.”
Since that first afternoon at Granny’s, I enjoyed many cups of tea served in the rose cups and saucers. But never was I served tea in those extra-special cups with the deep saucers and the loving-couple design. Those were reserved for her teatime with Jesus.
One afternoon, I was on my way to another tea date with Granny, when my cell phone rang. It was Granny’s nephew, Jim.
“My aunt died just this afternoon, right on her porch. A massive stroke.”
“She was carrying a tray with a tea set when she fell. I guess she was readying things for your visit. She was a fool—really. The whole tea set broken. Probably would have been worth thousands of dollars.”
“Which tea set?” I asked.
“The 18th century creamware, the one with the couple on it.”
“That tea set,” I whispered.
“Eh?” Jim seemed mystified.
“Granny’s story was finished, and it ended with those cups.” I said it more to myself than to Jim.
Jim didn’t answer.
“Jim, after your aunt’s funeral, why don’t we have tea at her place and I’ll tell you the story behind the creamware tea set. She may not have been as big a fool as you think she was.”
It was still for awhile. Finally Jim spoke in the phone again. “Fine. I’ll admit I am a little sceptical, but I am glad to hear it, and I never turn down a good cup of tea.”
And so we met a few days later.
Lord, help me to give Jim what he really needs…
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