Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Sometimes it is About the Things

There are so many things I have been wanting to tell you all/both of you about, but I just keep running. Chasing shiny things or slipping away from some other varieties of nonsense, but either way, not conducive to sitting down for a few minutes to sort through my snow globe of thoughts. Before I prattle on about myself though, how are you? Loaded question I am guessing? Maybe a little tired? Are you anxious to put this pandemic behind you? As this blog's name implies, maybe it's just me, but are you anxious about putting this pandemic behind you? With every step we appear to be taking forward, I feel myself trying to let some of the weight lift, while pushing down the panic of just how to move beyond. A lot of what I miss from the "before times" simply does not exist anymore, or has been so drastically altered that I am not positive what actually remains, let alone how I feel about it. The moments when I recognize growth within myself are so fleeting as I start to shrink back into who I was, or think others expect me to be. 

What to do? 

Celebrate the small victories. I painted a bathroom that has needed a second coat for over five years. New color, different things on the walls. Touched up the paint in another room that was also in need of repair for years. Painted a piece of furniture because I had been wanting to. Have I told you how much I dislike painting? Apparently not as much as standing still! (And I was running the risk of getting Instacart burnout.) The holiday was approaching, and with so many of us fortunate enough to be vaccinated, we were going to be able to open our doors and sit around the dining room table again. The least I could do was give these people change to gaze upon, in the event that looking at four walls that were not in their own houses wasn't enough pizzazz.

Find the comfort wherever we can, which for me is often in tradition, especially in navigating these times that look so very different. There was this lazy Susan (sorry to any Susans, but at least you aren't Karens...and sorry to the Karens who aren't actually Karens) at my grandparents' house that had ceramic dishes that fit, just so, on it. It made its majestic appearance at the holidays, and I thought it was one of the most magnificent things. Five receptacles for some combination of black olives, sweet gherkin pickles, cubes of cheddar cheese, pineapple chunks cottage cheese and applesauce. I did not like olives or pickles, nor do I understand how these items fit in with our meals, but that is irrelevant, and one should not underestimate how many pineapple chunks in heavy syrup a young girl could eat. That piece was a symbol for family gathering together. This is Easter 1973, with my grandmother on the left.
You can see all of the toothpicks sticking up out of the cheddar cheese cubes opposite those pickles. I am not sure why only the cheese was deemed worthy of being stabbed. Oh, that is me in the lower right corner, looking like perhaps someone tried to feed me one of said pickles. Here is a better look from a seventies Thanksgiving...
...with my grandmother in her usual seat again, and my mom next to her. This photo amuses me because I am trying to make sense out of the spread on that table and what void those cheese cubes could possibly be filling. The candied sweet potatoes no doubt did a lot of the heavy lifting, despite how gross I thought they looked back then. (It goes without saying how eager I would be to try them now.) 

My love for that blue ceramic was no secret, and my grandmother let me take it home just over fifteen years ago. I promptly took it to our basement to be stored, because seriously, where was I putting that thing? This was no chip and dip holder, although such fillers might make more sense in some ways. Every time a holiday rolled around, I would consider bringing the spinner out, but logic won each time. This year though?
I gave her the whole kitchen table to herself. I tried one of those totally unappetizing miniature pickles and my son ate nearly the entire can of pineapple. I told my mom that the next time the family all gathered I would modernize the offerings, but this year it needed to be the way it was.

Got time for another? When I wasn't busy longing for the day I could escape with some mysterious and impractical whirling ceramic ensemble, I spent a lot of time pining away after this table.
I can only assume I chose to pose with the table as if it was a dear chum because it meant that much to me even back in 1974. I also feel compelled to mention that my thighs still stick together like that ,but back to the table. I used to take such care when dusting the table, all of those spindles and whatever tsotchkes were having their five minutes of fame. Of course I kept that finish shiny and clean with plenty of Pledge, dreaming of the day when it would be mine. And then in 2018, as my grandparents' house was being emptied to be sold, the table was mine. Oh. My. Gosh. And I don't mean that in a good way. I brought the table home and had no idea what to do with it, where to put it, or what trinkets to put in those spaces. I had spent forty-five years hoping that table could be mine someday and was having a classic "be careful what you wish for" moment. I was too stubborn and attached to the memories to let it go though. 

One day, as we were looking up some of my grandparents' other furniture online, we saw the table...and it was called a "book table". Of all the things that were never on that table! Suddenly the odd cubbies of sorts made sense.
It is filled primarily with books I will never read, but whose spines I recognize from being on my grandparents' bookcase. I will admit that I was a much better duster back when I was under ten years old, but looking at this table soothes me.