He couldn’t have known why my eyes filled with tears when he gave the gift to our daughter. My husband had just gotten back from a business trip in Europe. He’d met with suppliers in Hungary and Italy. What a delight he’d brought us back a few surprises!
I’d missed him but it was the gift that brought on my tears. A child-sized red tin cup with cats on it. Perfect for sipping hot chocolate. Our daughter also has a thing for cats. A very thoughtful gift.
That cup took me straight back to the days of my childhood. My grandparents had used tin cups similar to this one for drinking water. A few times over the years, they had trouble with their water heater. So you’d pour this icy, cold water from the faucet into the coolness of the tin cup. No drink has tasted quite like that since.
A group of us went to grandma’s house the day of her funeral. We’d been told to help organize her things and take a few items to remember her by if we so desired. My father had grown up with half-siblings. Grandma had married once before and had my aunts and uncles. Then, when she married my grandpa, they had my dad.
So when I went with all my cousins and an uncle to her house that day, I was the sole representative of my side of the family. All morning long, when they came across things belonging to grandpa, who had already passed away, they handed them to me. Here Traci Dawn, share these with your brothers. Postcards from our travels, family photos. Nothing of significant monetary value. But valuable nonetheless.
Yet, it felt kind of strange to have this separation. I’d certainly never felt like they were any less my cousins because they didn’t have my grandpa’s blood running through their veins. The difference in their last name never meant a thing to me. But it made me wonder what family tension I had missed due to a childhood innocence?
My cousin came running out of the kitchen. He held up a single red tin cup.
I didn’t know they still had any of these. Remember drinking their super cold water out of these cups?
It was a memory we all shared. Yet, there was only one cup. We all agreed he should have it. Finders, keepers and all that.
I felt grateful we’d found common ground again. The shared memories of icy cold water in little tin cups brought us all back around to simply being family.
All the times we’d gathered at their house for family dinners. Grandma’s oyster stuffing that I never touched again after learning it had oysters in it. We gathered our large family in their tiny house several times a year. We didn’t all fit around the dining room table, which took up most of the kitchen. So, we’d grab a plate and find a seat wherever we could. Maybe on the back porch, where the cream pies were staying cool. Yes, looking back, we were family in every sense of the word.
That red tin cup my husband brought home may have come all the way from Hungary, but every time I see it, my mind travels right back to small town Missouri.