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February 13, 2017 / hbrowne4

Call that a cup of coffee, do ya? by Teresa Fenton


Sarah’s Tuesday morning was no different, busy and dizzy. The usual routine of trying to get two reluctant children ready for school was draining. No time ever, for her own breakfast until they were safely delivered to the school gate. “Phew! now I can take a moment for myself before I begin to do my chores “sighed Sarah, The day would be manageable enough except for one problem.

When she married Jim ten years ago, she agreed naively to convert their large garage into a luxury granny flat for Jim’s’ mother Flo. Well not Flo, as she insisted , from the day she met Sarah, that her title was Mrs.Ward Morrison.

Sarah had slowly realised that that was the day she lost all her power and had innocently bought into a subservient role with Jim’s mother calling the shots in what really is Sarah’s home.

With the wisdom of hindsight, she could have explained gently, on that first day that she would feel a lot closer to her if she could call her Flo. She could even have had some fun with the title idea. She could laughingly have suggested that she too wished to be called Mrs. Ward Morrison once she was married to Jim in less than a year! But since she said nothing and just went along with mother in laws demand, for the sake of peace, she had been paying the price for her silence, now for ten long years.

Mrs.Ward Morrison (senior!) always prepared her own breakfast as she had often said through pursed lips that her way was the only way a fried egg should be cooked.

Unfortunately, though for Sarah, she had developed a habit of strolling in the back door of Sarah’s house at 9.21 each morning, expecting her post breakfast coffee. While Sarah was trying to get her own toast, scrambled egg and tea, the table had to be set with Flo’s china cup and saucer, matching sugar bowl and cream jug. Next the percolator had to be put on to make two cups of the finest Costa Rican Arabica No. 3 blend coffee, for Mrs.Ward Morison, an order that Sarah had been duly trained to obey.

Only this morning was different. Today there would not be any Costa Rican Arabica No. 3 blend coffee on offer in “Cafe Sarah” as Bewleys did not have any in stock last week and she had settled for another brand.

This was just as expensive BUT could also start World War Three, or at least a nuclear explosion, if it did not meet with the approval of “Lady Ward Morrison”.

While feeling a mixture of courage and trepidation Sarah spooned the “impostor” coffee into the filter and had her cup of tea. After the usual three and a half minutes,she nonchalantly placed the coffee pot on the table next to the tiny Wedgwood china cup and saucer and sat, slowly and calmly having her own breakfast.

At the very first sip of this impostor coffee, Mrs. Ward Morrison’s face and jowls turned purple as she began, in a slow simmering way, to fume and rage, stuttering and stammering, muttering and spluttering the offending liquid semi politely into her china saucer.

“How dare you offend me with that vile liquid that your class call coffee. Anyway how could you know proper coffee from inferior rubbish?”

“ But, but …Sarah tried to explain that she could not get her favourite blend last week but that this one was also and expensive option.

“How dare you lie to me? You and your lower class family, from…from …Now Sarah could see that an avalanche of anger and verbal abuse was about to begin.

In the first years of their marriage Sarah had less contact with her , probably because the children were too wild and noisy for her delicate ears. But now that the little brats were at school Sarah was no longer safe any morning after 9.21.

“I can not believe it, my James getting involved with YOU one of ‘that family’ the Walsh’s from down there, near that, that , that halting site place”

Again Sarah’s mouth opened, but no words came out, so she just sat there in silence while

“Volcano Victoria” spewed hot red molten magma on top of her.

“I knew it, I knew it, the moment James introduced you to us that you lacked breeding . You said Hiya, called your table napkin a serviette and even held your knife like a pen! My God! Why, when he met so many lovely girls at the tennis club, did he have to settle for YOU ?”

With that, Sarah stood up, put her hands on her hips, cleared her throat and said

“I listened to you FLO, and now you will listen to me. I resent your negative comments about me and my family. I love your son but we have discussed our future plans. As of November, we are selling up, going to U.K to live near my twin sister, and you, FLO can move to Donegal and live with your other darling son, John”

As Flo’s face now changed to a whiter shade of pale, Sarah walked briskly out the front door.

“The power of coffee “ smiled Sarah, as she put her keys in the ignition.


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