Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Unwrapping Gifts

What is it about opening gifts that we love so much? Is it the suspense of discovering what hides within the box? Is it the hope of getting that which we have waited so long to receive? Or is it simply that we like getting new things? Well, some of us like new things.

I love old things, especially when they have been passed down from my family. That's why it was of special importance to me when my mother, who got the OK from her mother, informed me that I could unwrap my great-grandmother's china and crystal.

This is what I dug out of the shed.

Two dirty boxes, encased in time and dust, and waiting to be opened... Are you feeling the anticipation?

Go ahead, take a moment.

By the way, the box that says HOMO--it means homogenized milk--we're not that kind of family.

The china has been put away for so long, I can't even remember what it looks like.

Ok, ok, I'm opening the box--sheesh, talk about impatient.

This is the pile of rags, that wrapped the contents of the box, that I already opened and saw, that you are still waiting to see. Hah!

That's just wrong isn't it?

Ok, I'll stop being mean now.

There are four different sizes of crystal glasses, each etched with a delicate filigree of roses. I have never dined at a table set with four glasses, but I know that there was a time when this was standard.

The china set includes serving pieces, and I begin to imagine how they might all be used.

At the end of my unwrapping, I am posed with this thought: If we still took the time to set a table with ornament like this, would we then be inclined to prepare a good meal to go with it? And if we had taken the time to set a lovely table and cook a meal worth using our best china, would we spend more time selecting the company to share this special meal with? And in combination with our good food and good friends, would some of our tension and daily stresses of a hurried life begin to fade over laughter and a flowing glass of wine?

I stand back and admire the china and crystal that has finally found its way out of the box and into the hutch that my father made. It reminds me of a time when the world moved at a slower pace, when people   sat down and shared meals together, even if it meant washing four glasses for each guest.

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