Elderly Cousin, lives alone with her exceedingly, very big, black cat and visits when the weather is fine. My grandfather was her father's first cousin. What that makes us, I'm not sure. She is from the Scottish part of that side of the family. We enjoy each other's company despite the age difference. Her oldest is my age.
We always share a pot of tea poured from my brown betty. I bake a little cake, usually spice, sometimes lemon and pull it out of the oven just as she arrives. We set out mismatched dishes - cups and saucers collected over the years. From her hard pink tote emerges some leftover bit of current studded brack or gingercake. On occasion her daughter from across the ocean comes too, with her little daughter. To celebrate this, there is extra cake and squares and a bowl of fresh fruit. The last time they all visited, it was morning and out from the hard pink tote came little boxes of breakfast cereal. I set out the bowls and milk and sugar. We made coffee instead of the usual tea. It provided some relief from the bedside watch of Elderly Cousin's ill husband.
Elderly Cousin is jolly, sensible and practical - yes, practical. She knows how to shoot and clean a rabbit. I've watched her catch and crush a fly with her bare hand, wipe it on her white butcher's apron and then serve up another piece of cake. I eat it anyway. Sometimes she coughs now, so I try to remember to include a box of tissues along with the tea things. When we were kids she would arrive to visit my mother with a mason jar of fresh milk. So fresh, that upon opening the lid, the unmistakable odour of barn wafted upward. After straining it for straw, my mother used the milk for baking, but not before my father would drink the three inches of "gold" floating on top, smack his lips and then "moo" at my mother - to her disgust.
Today is a fine day.
"Decadent? Will you be home this afternoon?"
"Yes I will, but we have sick people in the house."
"Did you see the robins this morning? The girl who does my hair said her cats are playing with the robins."
I see Jet and The Cat are back playing games on the deck, but not with any robins.
"How about I come by next week," I tell her. "I have to come to The City and can stop in on the way back. I will bring the cake."
Toby at Six Months
5 hours ago