I set the table for Thanksgiving just now… it’s only the four of us this year. I’m thankful for that, in its way, it’s been a very relaxing day.
But I wanted to tell you a story, the story I think of every time I bring out this tablecloth.
I inherited this tablecloth from my grandmother. It’s beautiful – 100% linen, embroidered heavily and very possibly by hand. My grandfather got it for her in the 50s, when he was stationed in Japan. I received it well after her death, about the year 2000.
It was still in the box, with labels on each and every napkin.
My grandmother loved beautiful things, and the light tan is one of her favorite colors. She hosted all of our holiday meals, and at least one wedding.
She never used the tablecloth. She lived and died … and never used the tablecloth.
When I saw the untouched tablecloth, I was moved almost to tears, and I vowed there and then to always use the pretty things.
A few years after I started using it, I washed it with a red tablecloth that wasn’t dyefast, and now it’s a little bit pink – as are the napkins I washed with it. That made me sad. But it’s still beautiful. And I still use it. And I still think of her, so carefully guarding the good things that she never enjoyed them.
Use the good stuff, guys – all this world will pass away in time, things break, things get ripped and stained and worn… but material things are meant for that end, and we can enjoy them while they’re here. Stains and rips and mends and unmatched sets just show that life has been lived, and maybe there’s a story to tell.
I hope you and yours are having a beautiful thanksgiving day… if my day gets any mellower I’m going to have to take a (second) nap. 🙂