Sara Joye said “Grandma, I want to buy a Princess cup for my teacher.”
“What is a Princess cup?”
“You know, like your cups, Grandma.”
She pointed to some china cups with flowered patterns in my cupboard. ”
“Do you not have these in Slovakia.”
“No grandma, only in your house.”
“Would you like to get a special patterned cup and saucer for your teacher? I understand now.”
“Yes, I just love Princess cups”.
She held a china cup in her hands close to her heart as if it was the most beautiful, tender thing in the world.
I enjoy collecting jugs and china plates with flowers and gold trim on them. I display them on my dressers in the kitchen. Forty years ago a China Tea Set was a “must have” item for a bride. It would be kept in a safe place and only brought out for tea with special visitors or at Christmas or Easter. My husband bought me a china tea set. Its design was called “Angela.” Sadly I didn’t keep it safe. I liked to use it often.
I was reminded of words from the poem The Old Woman of the Roads by Patraic Colum.
O, to have a little house!
To own the hearth and stool and all!
The heaped up sods against the fire,
The pile of turf against the wall!
To have a clock with weights and chains
And pendulum swinging up and down!
A dresser filled with shining delph,
Speckled and white and blue and brown!
I could be busy all the day
Clearing and sweeping hearth and floor,
And fixing on their shelf again
My white and blue and speckled store!
I could be quiet there at night
Beside the fire and by myself,
Sure of a bed and loth to leave
The ticking clock and the shining delph!
Och! but I’m weary of mist and dark,
And roads where there’s never a house nor bush,
And tired I am of bog and road,
And the crying wind and the lonesome hush!
And I am praying to God on high,
And I am praying Him night and day,
For a little house – a house of my own
Out of the wind’s and the rain’s way.
I had often dreamed of having a dresser to display pottery, fine china, glasses or gifts, high up out of little children’s reach. In my new home I have two dressers. Items I collected over the years are now on display. Chinese patterned plates, I received as a twenty fifth anniversary present, wine glasses, china plates, gifts from my children and family photos. My dream has come true. My collection is being added as I pick up a bargain from a car boot sale or craft market. Now my grandchildren admire my collection. To their eyes it is treasure. I must be a Princess, instead of a poor wanderer as the poem depicts.
On Saturday Aaron, Marta and their children went to shop locally. Portaferry is a small village. I wondered would Sara Joye find any Princess cups. Her Mum prayed. “Dear Lord please let someone bring Princess cups to the Charity shop today.”
They set off. Some time later they called me to give them a lift home. It was cold and raining. But the children’s spirits were not dampened. Instead there was great excitement. Princess cups were purchased at a bargain price. It happened just as Marta had prayed. In an Antique store or Fine China shop these goods would be costly. The prized purchases were carefully wrapped to keep them safe on the journey back to Slovakia.
Sara Joye’s teacher in Slovakia will receive a Princess cup from Ireland.