One special cabinet was held over from the Kitchen Make over to create a special place for the Good Dishes. When I was little, we had Christmas Dinner at our house. It was one of the few times that I remember my parents cooking together. My dad was in charge of the turnkey and stuffing and my mother was in charge of the veggies and potatoes. My sister and I was in charge of staying clean and keeping the house that way to. The house was small and so there were tables set up every where. The kitchen had of course the kitchen table but tucked in a corner was a coffee table where the real littlest one sat so when they spilled stuff (and they would) the moms were right there to clean it up.
The living room had card tables where the rest of the cousins sat. We had the melamine dinner plates that didn't match, the jelly jar glass to drink from, the left over silverware and paper napkins, lots of paper napkins! Moms would fix the food for the littlest ones and we older cousins would fix our own, but we always walked past the adult table with all the good dishes and I longed to be old enough to get on that table to eat from the good dishes.
The table matched. The dishes, the silverware, the glasses, the cloth napkins, the tea cups, even the dessert plates for the pie all matched. It was glorious to see! I remember watching my older cousin who had just graduated to the big table walk with her plate up to the counter where the food was, holding the dish with both hands, praying NOT to drop it and having no idea how she would ever let go of one side of the plate to use the serving fork to get any food off the counter and onto her plate. Really, you could hear her mother, my aunts telling her - "Now don't drop those good dishes!" The pressure she must have been under! The first timers to the adult table were allowed to have white milk in the tea cup while others had tea or coffee in it. Kids at the kids table had chocolate milk in the jelly glass so white milk was proof that you were grown up. Each year I watched at those dishes came down from the top of the cabinet and were all washed by hand and dried with a fresh dishcloth. My mouth would water, not because the food was great but because someone was going to eat off those beautiful Good Christmas Dishes.
As each cousin got married and had Christmas dinner someplace else, a new cousin was chosen to move up to the adult table. One by one, my older cousins both male and female would join the big adult table and hold the plate with 2 hands and have that look of pure fear on there face. There is something wonderful about pure joy and pure fear that meet on a persons face. I was so excited to know that my turn was coming.
The year came when it was surely my turn to join the adult table, my turn to hold the precious Christmas Good dishes. My turn to eat off of them and drink white milk in the cup. No more mismatched dishes, no more jelly jar to drink from, no more paper napkins.
My mother announced that year that they were no longer cooking a big meal, after all the family had gotten smaller with so many cousins now married and so this year they would have cold cuts and cheese trays. Make your sandwiches and spend more time enjoying each others company, not so much time cooking and cleaning. The worst part, no Good Christmas Dishes! We would all use paper plates on a Frisbee! Drink from Styrofoam cups and use paper napkins!
But it's my turn to eat on the Christmas Dishes!!
Many Christmas' came and went and I never did eat on them. Then one day, many years ago, my mother died. I took down those Good Christmas Dishes, packed them up and took them to my home. I washed them all by hand and dried them with a clean dish cloth and put them away in the cabinet.
The Good Christmas Dishes don't have a Christmas tree pattern on them. No snow men either. Not even any snow! No the Good Christmas Dishes have a cross stitch flower pattern on them. So in the middle of winter, when there is 12 feet of snow on the ground, the wind is howling and everyone is wearing layers to keep warm, there is a reminder that summer is coming.
Under the snow.
Waiting for us all.
And I eat off those Good Christmas Dishes whenever I want to now, not just at Christmas. In fact, I'm making my self some hot cocoa. In Summer, to have in the Good Christmas Tea cup.
Good things happen to those who wait.