Wednesday, December 17, 2014
With Cup in Hand
The sky is gray, and the branches, unclad for winter, run through it like brown cracks.
I stand at the sink and do last night's dishes. There aren't many. Our big soup pot, a brownie pan, seven brown mugs. We had our small group Christmas party last night. You can't have a Christmas party without wassail - one of the things my mama taught me about hostessing. It's easy; you heat apple cider and cranberry juice on the stove, add cloves and cinnamon sticks, cut up an orange or a lemon, add sugar to taste. It makes one's house smell like Christmas, and the inaugural swallow warms all the way down.
I dip my hands in the hot water and look at the sky. Anna toddles from an open cabinet to the island, singing her own little song full of her own little words. I swipe the dishrag around the rim of a mug, rinse, repeat. The mugs were a gift from my uncle and aunt. They're simple and beautiful, my favorite kind of thing. I think of the hands that cupped round them last night as we watched It's a Wonderful Life and lingered after, laughing over stories of our awkward younger selves.
The dishes are clean, stacked precariously in our tiny dishpan. I unplug the sink and give one more glance at the sky. It is unchanged in its somber shade, but inside these brick walls, we'll set a pot to simmer on the stove, and we'll keep filling the brown mugs up through all the heavy gray days.