Tuesday, March 6, 2012

RemembeRED: Crystal

Prompt: One person’s Humpty Dumpty is another person’s omelet. In 400 words or less, write about a time when something was irrecoverably broken and the ensuing scramble.

While my father had been stationed in Germany, my mother had acquired a collection of water glasses, white wine glasses, red wine glasses, champagne flutes, sherry glasses, brandy snifters, etc.   My mother had a china cabinet to display all of her fragile finery, even though we hardly ever used any of it.  Before she married, my mother had never before had the opportunity to own china or silver or those other marks of status among women of the time, and those glasses were special to her.  My brother and I didn't know that at the time.  What we did know is that if we touched her crystal, we should be prepared to meet Jesus that very moment. 

It was extremely cold as the movers brought all of the boxes into the house on Lansdowne Way the day we moved to Maryland. There might even have been a hint of snow in the air.   My mother was sitting in the dining room, unwrapping her crystal carefully.  I offered to help her unwrap the glasses, out of habit. I expected her to refuse, as she usually did.  Instead, she told me to take a seat.  I was handed a roll of plain gray paper.

My mother was trusting me with her crystal!  We sat together and carefully unrolled snifters, flutes, and glasses, placing them all on the dining room table.  I remained vigilant as I unraveled the paper on a stemmed water glass.  I held the glass carefully in my hand.  I placed it gently on the table, as I had done with all the other glasses I had unwrapped.

A loud CRACK! reverberated throughout the house. I froze, still holding the top part of the glass. 
The rest of my mother's precious crystal water glass was on the table. 

I turned to my mother, eyes wide in horror, ready to throw myself at her feet to beg for mercy, or at least a quick death.  She was staring at the part of the glass that had been left on the table.   Then she sighed heavily. 

"Just turn that glass upside down next to that piece, so they stay together," she said.  She then handed me another rolled up paper, and went back to unwrapping the one in her lap.   I sat and stared at her, open-mouthed, for another couple of seconds, concerned.

Then I warily started unwrapping the next glass. 


  1. Your mother sounds patient. Is this fiction or non?

  2. I like this captured moment in time. I love how your mom let you continue unwrapping. She trusted you.

  3. Such a casual event but such a defining moment for both you and your mother!

  4. I like that you used a physical object breaking to represent the patience and fortitude of your relationship with your mom. Reacting calmly in that situation was probably difficult for her, but what an impact it left on you!

  5. Oh how I hope that I would have reacted that way! I can almost see her taking a big breath or a sigh before speaking too. Funny what memories we hold on to, isn't it?


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