Does Grampa sound like the coffee pot or

….does the coffee pot sound like Grampa?  I just had a mental image of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.  Both grampas are snoring in their chairs in front of the television much like our two dads years ago.  Herb mumbled and Dad was deaf.  Snore.

We have history’s worst luck with coffee pots. If you have a coffee pot you love and want us to babysit while you’re out of town, assume you will be making instant coffee until you can replace it.  We will kill it.  One morning when least expected, we will be waiting an unknown period of time while the pot chokes, gags, snorts, strangles, and rattles out our caffeine fix while we stand there holding our empty mugs, stray tears making their way down our cheeks.  Not another one. We should be arrested for small appliance abuse.

I am home alone this weekend while Honey suffers in Orlando on a business trip.  Since there is no room for sight-seeing, he really is suffering.  Poor baby.  I suppose the company-paid restaurant cuisine makes up for some of it.  My list of things to do here on the home front is rhetorical.  So is food.  Popcorn? Easy, salty, fast.  Hamburger?  If I feel like cooking it.  Noodles? Did that for lunch.  As for my to-do list, nothing was getting done except check the email.  So, I started gathering up the garbage, looked on top of the refrigerator at Mom’s hopelessly tarnished and corroded silver tea set and was about to drop the whole thing into the trash, finally putting it out of its pitifully tarnished misery after 40 years of non-productive sentiment, when I thought I’d whip out the polish and see if I could rescue at least the creamer and sugar bowl for the china cabinet.

As I saw some progress on parts of the creamer’s handle that I had thought all these years was corroded, it dawned on me that I had never applied either enough elbow grease or that I had been using the wrong polishing compound.  Regardless, I finished the two small pieces and decided to tackle the pot one more time.  My right arm is one muscle twitch shy of dangling uselessly at my side but by the gods of war, the pot looks good and it took most of the morning and part of the afternoon.

The three piece set is looking almost as it did on Mom and Dad’s 25th wedding anniversary in 1968.  She had longed for a silver tea set for years.  In her day, it was a sign of class, evidence of culture and gentility.  She was born in 1908, a product of the Victorian era in which, no matter the financial condition, it was proper to have a parlor, doilies, polished furniture supporting knick-knacks and decorative china tea cups with matching saucers. Women wore hats and gloves, carried lace trimmed linen handkerchiefs, dressed modestly, and served tea from silver pots into china cups when friends called.  The one custom that did not survive past the first world war was the calling card.  But the general mindset lasted through two world wars all the way up to the first beehive hairdo, a style that no longer supported hats.  She had the sideboard in the dining room and wanted the silver set to grace it.

When I was still home with little ones, I was approached by an acquaintance to join the General Federated Women’s Club.  Talk about a misfit, I was it.  I knew the old ways but didn’t fully or operationally buy into them.  These ladies had required hats until the sixties, actually voted to allow members to attend without them, and when it came time for me to host a meeting, the first question was “do you have a silver serving set?”  No.  I could be a co-hostess at someone else’s home but the silver tea set, though not exactly a demand, was a strong suggestion.

I didn’t last in the club.  I knew the women as friends from other social events and from around town in general, but eventually found the organization a bit ….. stuffy.

I finished my morning coffee, and thought today would be a good opportunity to sort and throw.  I had the pot in hand, it was hovering over the trash can, but wait.  I’m a pack-rat.  I can’t throw out diddly if it doesn’t smell bad. That would challenge my mother’s legendary ability to save useless potential garage sale inventory.  I’ll give it one more chance.  Now it’s downright pretty! It’s not only going to survive a near death trash experience but it’s destined to join the relic collection for re-distribution to heirs, worthy of display.

Silver tea set

BTW, I made the doily centerpiece. The table is one of the set of antiques also in the heirloom pool.

Although I’ve accomplished little nothing but that, it has been a profitable day.  As for the electric, mostly plastic, drip coffee pot that may still choke and gag after having run through several pots of therapeutic vinegar over the course of the whole day, we’ll see.  We’ll see. (Do I hear Taps?)

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