a sudden glimpse of a half-forgotten object that, over time, has merged
chameleon-like with its surroundings and become practically invisible.
Until, that is, it metaphorically leaps from its accustomed place in an at-
tempt to remind one of its existence, and draw an acknowledgement that
its importance is yet secure after all this time. Such a thing happened
to me earlier, so let me now relate a shamelessly sentimental tale.
years. I'm so used to seeing it that I don't even see it anymore. That's
to say, it no longer registers on my conscious mind. It is, quite literally,
half a cup, as if it's been set upon by a laser and vertically spliced down
the middle. (Except it has a 'back' to its imaginary splice and isn't quite
so bereft in the dimensional stakes as I might make it sound.)
It bears the legend "You asked for half a cup of tea" and functions
as an actual cup for when one wants to elicit a smile from a visitor. Not
that I've ever used it for such an effect, but it has actually been used for
that purpose on me. It must be over 21 years ago now, that I was visiting
an old schoolmate and neighbour, GEORGE COOPER, who lived in
an area in which I once stayed over four decades ago.
I was in the habit of taking a stroll in my old environs on a Saturday
who could always be relied upon to provide a cup of tea and sometimes
even a sausage sandwich. On this particular day, I replied to George's
enquiry as to whether I would like a cuppa by saying: "I wouldn't
say no to half a cup, thanks very much."
He'd probably been waiting years for someone to say that. In due
course, in he trotted with a plate of biccies and proffered a cup into my
outstretched hand. Yup, you guessed it, 'twas the half cup I've just been
wittering on about in my customary long-winded fashion. Cue my
A handful or so years later, Mr. Cooper Senior sadly passed away,
of his brothers owned the house and wanted to sell it. On one of my last
visits after his dad's demise, George gave me the cup as a memento of my
Saturday morning drop-ins, which, alas, were now drawing to a close
due to him having to move from his childhood home.
And so the cup that isn't a cup (but is half a cup) sits on a shelf
in my kitchen, bringing with it memories of another house and another
time, when I'd revisit one of the neighbourhoods of my youth and remin-
isce with George and his father about events from so very long ago. And
now that time of reminiscing has itself become a memory; has passed
into history and is now a period which I fondly recollect today.
I still sometimes go for a stroll in that old neighbourhood and
indeed, sometimes I do. However, whenever I'm back there, I always
walk past George's house (which, to me, will always be George's house
regardless of whoever lives there) and recall with fond affection the
day I asked for half a cup of tea and was given precisely that.
And I'm surprised to find my chuckle at the
event is now somehow a genuine one.