(A small brown glass case with round black frame glasses, faded evening purse with a few loose threads dangling, a worn clay pot,an engraved but gutted gold pocket watch, a blue,white and gold gilt Royal Doulton plate and a rusty outdoor lamp….)
Melissa looked briefly out of her pantry window. She was busy making rhubarb pies using the exact measurements of flour and lard. The pies were perfectly made if not slightly sour as she was frugal with the sweetness. After all, rhubarb was meant to be tart. Tidying up the back kitchen she placed her pies out of reach of the children on a high shelf while the cookstove blazed away. It would be awhile before the oven would be the right temperature to put the pies in.
Sitting stiffly at the oilcloth covered table she took her small brown glass case out of her apron and worked the round black framed glasses onto her tiny ears and her slim. prim nose. A few minutes to herself was rare but she continued to sit on the edge of the hard wooden chair watching the blocks of wood blaze in the stove. There were so many things to be done before the men came in for supper but she was concentrating on her movements earlier in the day. Had she dropped the engraved old pocket watch out in the garden when she was cutting the rhubarb? Usually she kept it in the small faded beaded bag she kept behind the best dishes on the dish dresser.
She had taken the watch from its hiding place and fingered it with her calloused fingers and slipped it into her apron pocket meaning to replace it. As the day wore on with so much to do she had simply forgotten to put it back. Now, with the pies ready to bake along with some roast potatoes she could take a few minutes to retrace her steps. All that came to mind was that she should have returned the grand blue and white daffodil gilt dinner plate to her neighbour, Evelyn before she came storming over to get it accusing her of wanting to keep it after the funeral gathering.
Jumping up from her short rest she grabbed a few matches from the old clay pot on the window sill and briskly opened the back door to light the iron lantern to guide the men coming in late for supper from the spring plowing. Evelyn was standing at the bottom step, holding the watch out to her with a shaking, palsied hand. In the gloom of the dusk, Evelyn’s thin face was pinched with disgust. ” I found this on the back verandah. Can you tell me why you left it there to torment me?”