Sunday, May 6, 2012

Use the Good Dishes

When I was a little girl rummaging around in my mother’s linen closet, I found a pretty little box that sparked my interest. The box was white with pink flowers and tied with a pale pink ribbon which I gently slipped off and lifted the lid. A delicate perfume filled the space around me as I unwrapped three silky smooth bars of soap nestled in layers of tissue. I rubbed one of the bars against my cheek savoring its softness and wondered why these lovely soaps were hidden away. When I asked my mother if we could use them she replied that they were special and not for everyday use. Disappointed, I returned the ‘special’ box of soap to the linen closet.

After my widowed mother passed away, my husband and I began the emotional job of clearing out that same home that I had grown up in. All the memories of my childhood were brought back to life as we went from room to room. There in the hutch were the delicate beer glasses from the 40’s/50’s that had been there all my life. However, I don’t remember ever seeing them being used. Did anyone actually drink beer out those glasses? I have seen actors using them in old movies. Along side the beer glasses I found the hand cut, colored crystal wine glasses, that collected more dust than wine over the years. In my mom’s cedar chest were the baby clothes lovingly crocheted by my grandmother and aunts, untouched since I wore them as an infant.  In the garage we found the old wooden, manual crank ice-cream maker, still on the shelf covered with cobwebs. So many bittersweet memories of my simple, innocent childhood, provoked smiles, laughter and tears.

As I progressed through the house and began pulling tablecloths and comforters from the linen closet, there behind the towels, sat the ‘special’ box of soap. I opened the lid, and as I expected, they were all still there, forgotten after all these years. What had she saved them for? How sad that she never enjoyed the few minutes of luxury the soap could have given her.

In the end, most of my parents prized possessions were given away or thrown out. I brought home a few things (including the beer glasses) that I just couldn’t get rid of. On the way home I found myself wishing my parents had enjoyed all the things they considered too good to be used. Instead, the items became give-a-ways, or garbage. What a shame.

Now the beer glasses and the colored crystal wine glasses are in my hutch. However, instead of collecting dust, I intend to enjoy them. My husband thinks the beer tastes better in the elegant glasses. In fact, I am using my own ‘special’ dishes and glasses more. I intend to make each day that I am healthy and sharing my time with friends and family a special occasion. As I offer a toast to my parents with their ‘special’ glasses, I feel their approval that we are enjoying them. Isn’t that what they are meant for?

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