IN VINO VERITAS
Today my sister reminds me that if I need things to vibrate – anything at all – especially when I get desperate, all I need to do is remember mother. When mother was talking about crystal glasses, that is. She had a thing for them. As a young girl, she had some. Then communism hit Romania. Her family lost not only land but also most of the crystal. From then on it went down the drain. By the time my sister and I came along in the late 60s, there was no more crystal in the house. She tried her best, but she didn’t have the right connections. At some point, two of her nieces got their hands on some crystal, and mother got excited. One of the girls had a job in a department store, which was as close one came to the possibility to touch the damn thing as one could imagine. But in Ceausescu’s Romania every time there was a delivery, mother’s name slipped from the crystal-list. ‘Where are my glasses?,’ she would ask my cousin. ‘Gone,’ she would say, ‘so quickly that I couldn’t even get to the list under the counter. ‘Damn,’ mother would say. She ended up cursing the system and her hard-working niece. The system fell in the 90s and the niece got her glasses smashed when she moved to another place. All of them. Mother felt avenged. In any event, she used to think that most of the people she knew were made by the system incurably stupid. Including her nieces; when it came to valuing their possessions. The crystal, that is. Most of the crystal mother came close to used to be locked safely in a display-window. She would get red in her face when she visited the family, and when they insisted on pulling a horrified face when mother would make the glasses vibrate with her fingers. ‘Careful, auntie, careful,’ the snobs would cry. ‘They’ll break.’ They would then hurry to fetch some ordinary glasses and make mother drink whatever liquids were available from them. Mother would get high blood-pressure, and it was up to my sister and me to rescue her from the world’s stupidity, and from dying. Yes, it’s a good thing that I now live in Denmark. I have the best crystal glasses in the world. They are so beautiful and fantastically crafted that my sister and I literally forget to eat in their presence, in the face of listening to a whole symphony of sounds that make the whole house vibrate more than the bells of the biggest cathedral in the land. Today we toasted for mother, who was turning in her grave. From pleasure, of course. We more than made up for what she was missing. In the glasses.