Tag Archives: Susie Cooper

Silence ~ an Advent Quest ~the silent guest

 

the unseen guest, the silent listener, be present at my table

Who is the unseen guest at your table, the silent listener to every conversation?  The traditional response is Christ; “Christ is the head of the home, the unseen guest of every meal, the silent listener to every conversation.”

My silent guest list changes for almost every meal. Sometimes the guest is an absent family member, or a far off  friend. At other times, I eat in the company of  loved ones who are no longer living.  Often, it seems to me, my little table is a host to a multitude of  absentees. They outnumber those who are physically present.  It would be crowded and noisy, if it weren’t for  the guests’ gentle, profound, and caring, silence.

 

This post is dedicated to Eileen at Laughter: Carbonated Grace , and to all those who will be missing a loved one at their table this Christmas.

 

PS This is my attempt at a flat lay photo. The two flower photos in the centre of the image are not mine. They were a gift from my photographer friend, David Dobbs.

On top of the box….a palimpsest?

In my previous post I featured this photo:Tea TrayOn top of the box you can see a serving tray, a Susie Cooper tea set and a copper vase. These items used to belong to my paternal grandmother. They are the small remnants, little leftovers, of a long and busy life; of good food and warm kitchens, delicious pikelets, cream sponges, roast dinners and much else besides.   They  are the tangible reminders of times I experienced with my grandmother, as well as  reminders of times I only know through hearsay. One of the hearsay pieces is the serving/tea-tray.  Like my grandmother was, it is simple, sturdy, good quality and without frills ! I am told that the wooden tray came from the tea rooms that my grandparents owned for many years in a small, rural town. The tea rooms were one part of their business. In its entirety it included a butchery and a bakery. It was advertised (in 1948) as the town’s  Up-to-date Cash Meat and Bread Mart, where small goods were a specialty.

The business was sold long before I came in to existence but the building it was in (which included the family home) was a place of occasional family pilgrimage. It was not a beautiful building, in our family’s estimation, but it had enough status, having been part of the town’s life since 1910, to be registered as  a Category 2 historic place (#5193) on the New Zealand Historic Places Trust Register. Category II status means a place is  of ‘historical or cultural heritage significance or value’. So, imagine our mixed emotions, our consternation, when we saw our place of family history like this, following the earthquake of September 2010.

Just a few weeks after the earthquake, it was already in the process of deconstruction for safety reasons. Sadly, since then, most of the building has been demolished and it has, naturally, been deregistered as an historic place.  However, a  modified, and safer, building, respectful of the old design, has arisen in its place.  And I believe it still remains a place of good food and hospitality.

When I look at the items on top of the box, and reach back in my mind to their underlying stories and foundations , I wonder if, what I see before me are truly remnants, or simple leftovers, or my own unique version of a palimpsest. ( I really would rather like one! But my grandmother would much prefer ‘leftovers’. We always had lovely ones for Sunday night tea 🙂 )

© silkannthreades

What do you see?

What do you see?  What do you hear?……..All EarsI see a box; I see a rug;A box, a rugI see a flower on the Tree of Life; I touch a flower on the Tree of Life;Flower on the Tree of LifeI see a tray;Tea TrayI sense tea; I taste cake;Tasty treatsI feel the shape of the tea-cup in my hand;Cup for my handthe warmth of the teapot in the afternoon sunWarm feelingsand I hear the quiet silence of my house on a winter’s afternoon.

Today, 27 June,  is Helen Keller’s birthday.  If you would like to honour this remarkable woman, spend a few moments honouring and treasuring each of your five senses, no matter how perfect or imperfect they may actually be.

Then enjoy some time with the wonderful people at Helen Keller International; and be inspired by my dear friend Victoria Quinn as she writes about the Human Yardstick; and, finally, check out Good Housekeeping and up date yourself on 10 Facts about Helen Keller. Did you know she loved dogs?

https://www.facebook.com/HelenKellerInternational

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/victoria-quinn/checking-in-on-the-human-yardstick_b_3404554.html?utm_hp_ref=fb&src=sp&comm_ref=global_motherhood&comm_crv

http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/family/inspirational-people/facts-about-helen-keller#slide-1

© silkannthreades