Friday, November 25, 2011

It's More Than Just a Spoon

In preparation for Thanksgiving dinner, I retrieved all my serving dishes from storage, carefully scrubbed them all until they sparkled, laid them out with post-it notes to remind me what went in each one and to make sure I hadn’t forgotten anything, and then I pulled out serving utensils to go with each one. Most of the spoons were ordinary serving spoons, a few matching our silverware set and then a few pretty extras we’d picked up here and there through the years. But this year there was one very special new – well, old – utensil: the Cranberry Sauce Spoon.

I loved holidays when I was growing up. I loved having company. I loved it when my dad would put the leaf in the dining room table and my mom would iron one of the big tablecloths. I loved being allowed to polish the silverware. And I loved it best of all when my mom would ask me to set the table. I loved finding matching sets of silverware and matching glasses. I loved being allowed to pick out a set of placemats and a candle for the centerpiece that matched the d├ęcor. And I really, really loved getting to pick out all the serving dishes and utensils. It wasn’t that much of an issue of picking, though, because every year the same foods went into the same dishes and were served with the same utensils. Mashed potatoes and squash went into the matching oval silver bowls with the slightly dented hammered silver spoon and the spoon that matched the sterling silverware. Gravy went into the gravy boat with the small ladle that matched the everyday silverware and sat on a dessert plate from the everyday dishes. Turkey went on the big platter with the big fork. And cranberry sauce (from a can, complete with ridges on every slice but the ends) went in a beautiful cut crystal bowl and was served with a beautiful shallow silver spoon with scalloped holes in the bowl and my mother’s initials engraved on the end. It was never used for anything but cranberry sauce. And I thought it was the most beautiful spoon I had ever seen.


So when my mother passed away this spring, I knew right away that the one piece I wanted to keep as an heirloom was that spoon. Just looking at that spoon has always brought back memories of visits with family, of “helping” my mom in the kitchen as a small child and truly helping as a young adult, of happy holidays spent with loved ones.

It’s more than just a spoon, it’s my past. My wonderful, fun- and family-filled, loving past.


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