PEPPERMINT AND CHAMOMILE TEA
my grandmother – by ShaRon
My grandmother was an amazing woman. They don’t make women like her anymore. Dare I say that they broke the mold when they made her.
Immigrating from the beautiful island of Barbados in the early 1900’s, she was employed as a nanny in Boston Massachusetts. Like so many immigrants, of then and now, Ma, came to the US because of the planned future that she and Mr. Jones had. Mr. Jones, Pop as we came to called him, would go ahead to the States, as a merchant seaman, and when he was settled and financially able would “send for her”, his beloved, Geraldine…marry and have a wonderful life…in the States.
Ma was a feisty petite and confident woman; much much lighter in complexion than her very deep chocolate toned Mr. Jones. She was funny and outspoken and used to say that they chose each other to have children that would look like there was “just enough cream for the coffee”. And so they did, after one miscarriage, they had Emily, light-skinned like her mom. Next, Evelyn came as beautiful brown, Geraldine (Jeri Jr.) very dark like her dad, and lastly, Horace…just enough cream for the coffee. By the way, I’m one of Jeri’s girls…my dad added the cream to make me.
As a wonderful story teller with a flair for the dramatic you can only imagine the many tales of comedy and woe…misadventures, love and romance that I heard growing up while living in the same apartment building as my grandparents. So I happened into that wonderful life that had been planned in the States…inheriting most of Ma Jones’ best qualities, and including some physical characteristics, too. I was petite, funny, smart and I was such a gifted storyteller that at the tender age of five I wrote my first book…illustrated no less. Yes, I had fashioned several sheets of notebook paper into a little picture book called, Time Goes By. It began, Time goes by said mother. (turn the page), Time goes by said father. (turn the page), Time goes by said sister…
And I’m not sure how old I was, exactly, probably five or six years old, that I had convinced my mother that I was learning Spanish in school. Either my mother was very gullible or I was just that good of a storyteller…like Ma. Also, in those early years, I could do the most convincing impression of Eartha Kitt! I believe I actually channelled her because folks said that I did look like her.
When I was twenty years old I got engaged to be married and my grandmother invited me to come to her apartment one afternoon, for tea.
When I walked into my grandparents apartment I noticed that the coffee table was covered with a beautiful lace tablecloth. The table was set with two cups and saucers, a tea pot and sugar bowl. The Chinaware was from the special gold-trimmed, delicate floral patterned set that the family had given my grandparents as one of their gifts for their fiftieth wedding anniversary. The centerpiece was a small bouquet of pink and white carnations in a porcelain vase. And leaning up against the centerpiece was an envelope. The envelope was that antique soft yellow color of aged paper. My heart melted as I took in the beauty and atmosphere of the living room. I focused in on every delicate detail on the table. As I sat down, Ma took my left hand in hers and commented on the beauty of my engagement ring. “It’s lovely dear. I’m so happy for you.”
She poured us each a cup of the steaming blend of peppermint and chamomile tea…our favorite.
“Now my youngest of my grands is going to be married. I want to show you something.”
I took a sip of my tea. My grandmother reached for the aged envelope; and as she did, and held it out to me, I noticed that the color and texture of the envelope and her delicate wrinkled fingers, matched.
I carefully opened the envelope and removed a letter that began, My dearest darling. I am so grateful that you have consented to be my bride.