A Cuppa & 3 Stories
Sophia's friend, Kelly, is, shall we say, a tad over protective of his daughter.
Oh, heck, let's just say it, when it comes to protecting his child, he's frigging nuts!
But not always wrong. And to his credit, he knows when he's overmatched and in need of help. Now is one of those times. Maybe he's just overreacting but still, the sight of his quiet and pensive daughter out all alone on the bridge staring at the waters of the Willamette River far below. That's an image he just can't get out of his mind.
The teas, both morning and afternoon have become a huge success at Sophie's Cove. The word is out and the daughters and granddaughters have begun taking more of an interest in visiting their mothers and grandmothers on "Tea Days".
Thankfully, Sophia has had the help of Alexandra Williams to shoulder some of the responsibility for cakes and scones, clotted cream, jams and, of course, endless cups of Sophia's delicious premium teas. And today was going to be one of the best teas yet.
And it was. Even when the handsome elderly stranger made his appearance at the women's only affair and Alexandra nearly had a meltdown, things had smoothed themselves out just fine.
But then the grandson showed up. And while every woman at the table found him easy on the eyes, there are two women in particular that are taking a special interest.
It's only been a few days since the Tuesday Tea Gala at Sophie's Cove but what a time it's been.
A love of Gwendolyn's from many decades past has suddenly just arrived only six months after her husband's death. And what a reunion it was for "Gwenie" and "Howie". It's so sweet how the two so instantly managed to connect after more than 50 years. It's almost like the two never left high school.
But Sophia has her doubts. However, that will have to wait because the arrival of Howie's grandson has had a powerful effect on Sophia's best friend, the always faithful, rock solid Alexandra.
And Sophia is determined to act before it is to late, if it isn't already.
“Chris!” Sophia protested as she twisted her body to protect the antique beer stein and, not accidently, make her cheek more accessible so the kiss could linger.
“You two need to get a room,” said Alex.
“We have one,” Chris said. “You’re in it.”
Rolling her eyes, Alex said, “I’m not done dusting. I’ll leave you two alone.”
As she turned away, the front door opened and the three looked as a man entered carrying what was obviously a print of some sort wrapped in brown paper. Without even a glance at the three of them, the man hurried down the first aisle he came to toward the back of the store. Alex stepped over toward the entrance so she could observe the back of the man as he continued down the aisle but Chris turned to his wife.
Her face now grave, Sophia said, “I’m going to need your help with this one.”
The front door of the store swung open with enough force that the chimes hanging from the handle hit the glass hard enough that Chris winced.
“Smoked paprika, really? Who uses horseradish and smoked paprika with deviled eggs. And, how, pray tell me oh mighty son of mine, why are you attempting to reinvent a dish that housewives have, for generations, been doing a better job of making than you ever will?”
“Because, Father, it is called creativity. Something that you were quite good at years ago.”
“Don’t kid yourself, Pete. I still am. And I’ve been doing a better job of it for longer than you’ve been alive and the one thing I know for sure is that you don’t mess with the lady of the house’s pride of hearth and table."
Sophia has a problem. Henry has arrived for his customary visit with Chris, Sophia's husband. You and I, as you can see from this excerpt, would sense nothing out of the ordinary. But Sophia isn't like the rest of us.
He looked old enough to have trodden the mountains when they were but hills. His age spots told of tales often repeated and others long forgotten. Each line etched deep in his wizened countenance told of pains and trials that only the toughest survive.
And sometimes wish they hadn’t.
And Sophia loved him with the deep and abiding love reserved for those who wore their medals and battle ribbons in the slow gait of advanced age and multiple injuries from a hard life of barely making ends meet.
“Henry,” she said as she pressed a knee to the paddle switch under the counter. Coming from behind the counter of Sophie’s Cove, she enveloped him in a warm embrace that he returned with more than his usual intensity. She could almost swear she caught a whiff of newly sawn lumber from his years working in the local sawmills mixed with the pine scent of the forest where he’d hunted and fished to put some protein on the table.
And not always in season.