Mel took the delicately formed key from the top of the crystal cabinet and unlocked the door. She had already gathered her mother’s and her grandmother’s favorite hats and two mirrors from the dressing tables. Now she gathered teapots, plates and tea cups.

She set the small table for tea for three. The well-loved tea pot had belonged to Sal, her grandmother. Small plates of her Mom’s prized short bread and her grandmother’s sugar cookies adorned the table with a small arrangement of flowers from the garden. Bette’s sugar cookie recipe was legendary. Each place had its own cup and saucer. This had to be perfect.

Mel put the two mirrors on the table so she could see herself as if sitting at the other two chairs. The two hats were beside her.

She missed her mother and grandmother terribly. Usually she was fine knowing they were with her in a different way now, but for this she wanted to feel their presence.

Mel put her grandmother’s hat on and looked at that mirror. Everyone told her that the three of them looked like sisters. She could see the resemblance as she looked at herself. Looking at her grandmother’s place at the table, she said, “Grandmother, I met a fellow and he has asked me to marry him. I think you would like him. He does have a tattoo and I know you are not fond of those, but if you can just look past that I think you will see a person with a good heart.”

She waited a moment. No tea cups fell and no lights flickered.

“Thank you for accepting him into our family.” She took her grandmother’s hat off.

Then Mel put her mother’s hat on and looked at the other mirror. She did indeed look like her mother. “Mom, you knew Rick and I think you liked him. And, yes, I know he smoked when you knew him, but he quit a year and a half ago. You know his heart is good and that he is caring.”

Again, nothing untoward happened.

“Thank you for accepting him into our family.” She took her mom’s hat off.

She sipped her tea and ate a shortbread and thought about these women. She loved them dearly. The strength she saw in herself came from them, as well as her ability to love with an open heart. She offered a prayer of thanks for having these strong women in her life.

“If either of you have any thoughts or words of wisdom, I welcome them. The wedding is in three weeks, so if you can let me know by then I’d appreciate it.”

The wine glasses in the crystal cabinet pinged softly against each other.

I few more sips of tea and a sugar cookie. “Oh, and then there’s the baby – a little girl.” She patted her belly, just barely a bump now.

She munched another cookie. Two cordial glasses fell off the shelf followed by a chorus of Hallelujah!



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