|Christmas Eve dinner 2014|
My husband and I were recently reminiscing about Mamaw... my mother. We were talking about her much beloved and ratty nightgown, which was held together with safety pins. What was amusing was the fact that Mom had a couple pretty nightgowns in a dresser drawer of her bedroom. Given to her as gifts from her children to wear instead of the ratty red nightie.
However, she was saving them in case "she had to go to the hospital". Which is even more amusing because as we know, one wears a hospital gown when actually in the hospital. But Mom was part of that generation that lived through two world wars and a Great Depression. Like so many her age, she saved the Good Stuff for someday.
I mean, really... for what are people saving saving their best? That Perfect Day when the sun is shining and the birds are singing and it is 70 degrees and everyone we know has been in a good mood and we feel wonderful and the bills are all paid and the pantry stocked and the children are all obedient and Heaven has come to Earth?
There is a gift that comes with illness, whether a chronic illness like my own or a life threatening illness. One either grows tired and bitter or one learns to embrace Life as it arrives each day. His mercies are, after all... new every morning. When one has not been guaranteed a next year or even a next day... and if you think of it none of us are... we learn to use the Good Stuff. Today.
When pondering this Sunday Afternoon Tea post, I thought about my collection of brown transferware. It began with a plate purchased here and there at thrift stores. Through the years more pieces were added when found at low prices at the antique mall. Amazon credit was used for the teapot one year.
Friends gave me pieces as they came across them. Kristi sent me her set of brown Old British Castles dishes (lovely). My daughter gifted with a platter on our visit to Brimfield (which was a Perfect Day). As any collector knows, the memories of the hunt or the one who gave a gift is as endearing as the object itself.
And I admit I have other sets of dishes which... except for my wedding china... were inherited or purchased at thrift stores. But it is my brown transferware that causes my heart to go pitty pat and brings a smile to my face. Which is why it is displayed in the china cabinet and on the hutch.
But you know what? I also use it! I created a tradition of using it for sit down dinners during the Autumn season. When the first pumpkin spice latte is available at Starbuck's (usually September 1st) is my official first day of Autumn. No matter how hot it is outside.
It is the china I use for Thanksgiving Dinner and sometimes for Christmas Eve. But I also use it for grilled burgers and crustless quiche and for individual Tea Times in Autumn. I know many people who use it throughout the year. But I do have to give equal time to other dishes. ;)
Why do we not use the good perfume or actually light the lovely scented candles? Why are there gorgeous journals on our shelves... with not one word written in them? Are we waiting to write the Great American Novel in them instead of the most precious story... the very days of our lives?
We need to use the Living Room and the formal Dining Room and that pretty table on the deck. We need to wear the lovely sweater that needs dry cleaned and the dress we were saving for a special occasion which may never arrive.
When I let my daughter-in-law choose from my teacup collection (offering everything except those which were gifts or had other sentimental value), I told her not to worry about breaking them. But to use them and have lots of tea parties.
We need to dare to break things or to stain things or to have the baby spit up on the pretty blouse. We need to use the pretty pens and the beautiful washi tape and the cards with the lovely artwork. We need to wear the jewelry. We need to be using the pretty tea towels and beautiful linens.
We need to set the table with the vintage lace and use grandmother's inherited china and the fragile crystal stemware and use the pretty teapot and the silver... whether inherited or purchased at a thrift store. We need to brew the expensive tea that was gifted to us and perhaps even share it with a friend.
Why do we save the Good Stuff? Are we going to take it with us? I have a feeling that everything in Heaven is infinitely better than the Good Stuff we have here. After all, the streets are paved with gold. Yes... what man values most is the stuff they make pavement from there.
So use the Good Stuff now. Today. Don't wait. Let Carpe Diem be our motto... while we look to That Day when all will be made Perfect.