I just saw one of our wedding gifts sold as cheap yard décor. It wasn’t exactly mine, but it was identical to my silver-plated coffee service.
The husband and I spent the weekend in a small quaint town where old buildings, filled with restaurants, boutiques and gift shops, line the streets.
It is a restful place. A peaceful place. A place where a pleasant calm slowly takes you in — until you see the same silver-plated coffee service you have at home welded to a silver tray, anchored to a metal rod, jammed in the ground and billed as a garden ornament.
“I can’t believe it!” I exclaim.
“I can’t either,” said the husband. “I didn’t know it was going to rain.”
The husband doesn’t have the same fire in him that I do about dishes. I come from a long line of women who appreciate fine dishware. We love pretty dishes and handing down pretty dishes to the next generation.
It’s in our DNA (Dishware Necessity Attitude).
Looking at the replica of my silver-plated coffee service now disgraced and masquerading as a garden ornament, I see that it needs polishing.
I could fix that relic by dashing back to the hotel and grabbing my cosmetic bag. Anybody who knows dishware knows you can use toothpaste to clean silver.
The husband suggests that if I start smearing toothpaste on someone’s “work of art,” it could upset the small artisan colony, and I would be to blame.
I defer to his judgment, although reluctantly. And with thoughts of returning after dark with my whitening tartar-control toothpaste.
Seeing our wedding gifts as yard décor isn’t truly a surprise.
It’s been years since we’ve been invited to a wedding where the bride registered for fine dishware. Couples today register for huge popcorn tubs, board games and camping gear, but not fancy dishes.
I asked a recent bride-to-be if she and her fiancé had any interest in china. She said, “Yes, but we’d like to visit India first.”
Nobody cares about nice dishes because everyone is eating out. “Takeout” is now considered a primary food group.
I get it. Paper plates are often on my shopping list. They’re convenient and make for easy cleanup.
But still. Still.
There are times when a meal is not about saving time. There are times when a meal is about enjoying heirlooms, loveliness, candles with wax rolling down the sides and lingering over conversation and dessert.
I had three great aunts who lived nearly all their adult lives together. When we visited, they often used beautiful green crystal they had saved money for as young girls and purchased for their mother years ago. My mother routinely broke out in a sweat terrified my brother or I would bite a piece right out of an heirloom crystal goblet.
We never did, and the aunts were right to risk using the “good dishes.”
Special things don’t belong shut in a drawer, sitting on a shelf or hidden in a closet. They are meant to be used and enjoyed — preferably in the house, not outside, stuck on a metal rod.
Lori Borgman is a columnist, author and speaker. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.