Chapter 64

the sound: Tom Waits – For No One, Tom Waits – Chocolate Jesus, Tom Waits – Hold On, Tom Waits – Take me Home, Tom Waits – Elephant Beer Blues, Tom Waits – The Piano Has Been Drinking, Tom Waits – Tom Traubert’s Blues

Mrs. Kirkpatrick introduced herself to me as we followed her 3 huge children out the door of the den, through the vestibule and down the hallway to the kitchen.

She asked how I knew her children and I told her that I’d met them through a friend and that they’d been kind enough to “put me up” while I was here.

She seemed pleased at the implication that they had manners.

As we stepped into the warm sunny kitchen I was totally shocked to see Rosie tying on a big, gingham, ruffled and bibbed apron as she walked towards the pantry.

Then I turned my head to the left in time to see Robert and Grey dutifully setting the huge table with a lovely matched set of china teacups and cake plates not to mention sterling silver cutlery complete with real teaspoons.

It was all I could do to keep from barking out a laugh as I watched Robert’s great big hands manipulating a pair of sugar tines while he quietly and patiently piled sugar cubes into a lovely white pyramid.

The table at the right end of the kitchen was polished cherry wood and likely large enough to seat 15, 20 if you all got up close and personal like. There were 2 huge ladder back chairs with armrests looking suspiciously like thrones at each end and high back wooden chairs along each side of the table.

The King seat sat facing the French doors to the side veranda and overlooking the water with its back to the kitchen. It was empty of place setting while the Queen seat, facing the kitchen with its back to the doors was set with a lovely crocheted doily placemat topped with a thick paisley trivet. On the trivet was the cup and saucer, the tea service on a tray in front of the Queen seat.

Along both sides of the table in the chairs closest to the Queen seat where seats for the four of us. Each with its own matching doily placemat in sunshine yellow topped with a paisley trivet.

As we got to the table I began to wonder at the possible cost of the furniture itself, forget about the tea service and the crystal decanters of amber fluid that sat on the sideboard across from the table.

“I’d pay a dollar for about a gallon of that amber liquid just now” I snorted to myself.

The massive shelves of the sideboard held about 30 of those Royal Dalton figurines my mother was so fond of.

“I am so, so outta my league” I thought just as Grey showed up at my elbow with a china platter of teeny tiny sandwiches…no crust…looked like cucumber or water cress.

“ok, that cut’s it….I’m fucked” I thought and turned towards Rosie in time to see her pouring hot water out of the largest china tea pot I’ve ever seen.

She had her tongue stuck out the corner of her mouth and I had time to think that she looked just like she did with the first aid kit in her hand while running to rescue one of her idiot brothers when they’d shot someone, then she looked up and our eyes met. She started as if she was surprised to see me and then blushed.

I watched in wonder as the red flushed slowly up Rosie’s neck to her face and then she bobbed her head down to pour water over the tea leaves she’d dropped in the pot.

“Siobhan?” Mrs. Kirkpatrick queried…”are we nigh ready dear?”

“yes ma’am” Rosie replied as she hurriedly pulled the cozy over the tea pot and rushed towards the table.

Robert places a tray of ‘petite fours’ on the table and hastened to help his mother be seated. Mrs. Kirkpatrick sat in the Queen seat with Robert and myself on one side and Grey and Rosie on the other facing us.

I watched with some amusement as all four of them in virtual unison pulled their clean crisp white Irish linen napkins out from under their butter knives and gently opened them to place them on their laps. I hastened to follow suit.

Then 3 adult Kirkpatrick children sat quietly, heads bowed, hands in their laps while their mother looked at me inquiringly until by some grace a light went on in my head and I too bowed my head.

“Roibhilín, the grace?” Mrs. K asked and in reply, wonders of wonders, surprise, surprise….that big tough, gun toting, Jack Daniels swilling, goat butchering, cussing and shooting bad ass biker Robert quietly blessed our food.

You could have knocked me over with a feather!

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