Monday, February 22, 2016

THE CHINA SYNDROME


Asian flu
The other day our contractor "M" asked
me how and when I became addicted to
porcelain. Frankly his query was a bit
off putting. Is it beyond obvious that I'm
hooked on dishes? Has my affection for
pottery grown to "hoarder" proportions?
Rather "M" was intrigued post exposure
to our "collection." After spending time
in our home, he's dished with the best
of them. Thus while a confirmed straight
man, he's intrigued by all of our bits and
pieces. Therefore I'm afraid that soon his
home could also house a crockery cache.
Best laid plans
Designing, building, or restoring one's
home is quite a personal endeavor.
Those who helped make our dreams
ended up knowing more about us than
our nearest or dearest. While restoring
our manse a plethora of professionals
helped us along the way. They asked
questions like where to place toilet
paper dispensers or what side of the
sink to situate the dishwasher. Sans
their support our dream home might
have been a nightmare. Because of
them we're living happily ever after!
Mother knew best
Back to the question at hand. Exactly
when and how did I become hooked
on china (silver and glassware.) Like
most things in life I must blame said
compulsion upon my dearly departed
Mother. Ethel loved setting the table.
Not just on special occasions but each
and every meal. Hence for most of my
childhood the art of creating a proper
setting was as important as the repast
itself. While we never had such a range
of options I have today, it was never
mundane. Every meal was special.
Smoke & mirrors
It's funny how a freshly pressed napkin
or pretty plate can set any meal up for
success. Given Ethel's limited culinary
repertoire, I don't recall what we ate.
However I cherish many memories of
sitting as a family in the candlelight
discussing the events of the day. Those
times were key elements in reinforcing
and strengthening the bonds that held
us together as kin. Later on when we
had to stand up for each other, we did
so as one. Could that be proof that the
family that eats together stays together?
Build it and they will come
Every time I set a table I think of those
family meals. However like most things
I may have morphed those memories
into justification for my predilection
for porcelain. Today our kitchen sports
a fourteen foot span of floor to ceiling
cabinets better known as the "great wall
of china." Within said space (and several
other hidden spots elsewhere) rest about
seventy different dish and forty assorted
crystal options. My natural inclination
is to mix and match. Therefore most of
the above are bits and pieces that add up.
Crock pot
Much like most of the flotsam and jetsam
of life, at this point even I'm worried that
I've too much of a good thing. For almost
a year I've been selling castoffs on e-Bay.
Yet oddly it seems that even with all of
that commerce I've barely made a dent in
my teetering tabletop tower. Meanwhile
I still occasionally add a piece or... ten.
However that's only to complete a gap
given it's all "antique" and therefore hard
to easily assemble a complete set. That
said, I'm proud to report that we actually
use all of what we've got and then some!
Private affair
I'm not sure if it's the accoutrements
or the guests that ultimately drive my
need to spread out. Believe it or not,
Frank and I are by our very natures
anti-social. Thus we rarely open our
doors to those beyond our very close
friends and family. Meaning that our
table and meals are reserved for those
we truly care for. Thus everything is
prepared with love given we rarely
seat someone at the table who we
don't adore. And that makes the time
and effort more than worth the effort.
Time well spent
For the past two weeks we've been
gathering as a family at large each
evening. For many reasons the task
of preparing said repast has been
my responsibility. What's on the
table really doesn't matter. Rather
it's who is sitting around it. Theres
nothing like a heaping helping of
love to satisfy one's hungry heart.
In the years to come we'll remember
these times together. And thus when
some of us no longer sit at the table,
they'll still be with us in our hearts.