Saturday, February 20, 2010

40 Dishes in 40 Days: I know I promised...

...not to update endlessly about the 40 Bags in 40 Days exercise, but I am so jazzed about it! I can't tell you how wonderful it has been to spend 20 minutes or so a day going through all those things I always mean to get to but never do. This challenge has given me the impetus to "get a move on" and "get around to it" finally.

Here's one group of items that have made it into the "Giveaway Pile" much to my relief: my wedding dishes! The dishes were perfectly nice and perfectly serviceable, but there's a story that I haven't shared with many people. The person who bought them gave them to me saying in a whisper, "You'll like these better than the ones you picked out."  As you can imagine, the smile froze on my face for a moment or so.

Did I respond to the implied insult to my taste in dishware? No. Did I return them for the ones I wanted? No. I was polite and contained my irritation. You see, it was a group gift from several friends and this woman had taken charge and purchased them. None of the other friends knew she'd gotten a set I hadn't wanted. I didn't want to hurt their feelings or bother explaining what had happened, so for 10 years I've used them and remembered that moment.

Now I won't have to.

A few years back my mom gave me a set of china with a similar story behind them. As an overenthusiastic newlywed she'd done something similar--purchased dishes that a bride had not picked out. My mother had saved and scrimped and purchased dishes she would have loved to have--much as I can hope my friend had done for me (minus the scrimping). I know that my mother meant well and I have come to want to believe the same of the friend who'd bought my dishes for me. That other bride gave the dishes quietly to her mother to store, and after 40 or so years the dishes meandered back to my mother. They're mine now.

I can use them and not doubt the intentions of the giver. I can, instead, remember my mother and her sometimes long-winded impulsiveness. I've been told that women remember everything forever. In my wedding dishes this has been true. I will enjoy my "new ones" and be a bit freer to remember better moments with that long ago friend of mine.

Now, these perfectly serviceable dishes (that were also not on my gift registry) will have two stories. One of my mother and one of me.

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