Friday, January 1, 2010

Thinking Out Loud

Even after living eighty years a confirmed and committed Jew, I still find some things about “being Jewish” difficult to understand. For example, over half-a-century ago when my wife and I announced our engagement, gifts from the family started to pour in. Now understand that my future wife and I, both college students, had yet to earn our (symbolic) first dime and had a joint bank account with fifty bucks in it.

Still, most of the gifts were fit, if not for kings, then for dukes and duchesses. For example: a series of sterling silver serving trays; a set of six tiny olive forks (sterling, of course); a graceful, long-necked sterling coffee pitcher with matching cream and sugar bowls and a weighty chaffing dish cast in that ubiquitous metal. I remember using those tiny forks once or twice during the next fifty-odd years and still have them. But, the half ton or so of sterling – thoroughly blackened and never used – we threw out when we moved to Florida. In truth, we did try to foist them off on our cleaning lady of thirty-odd years who said ever so politely, thanks, but no thanks.

Yet in retrospect, this nouveau riche orgy had an impact on my wife and me, because the first time we had two-nickels to rub together we ran out and bought a complete set (service for 12) of fine china. But we never ate off them in fear of breaking a dish, which would be a shame because of the cost. So in effect, we had a set of dishes too good to use.

In her later years, my mother-in-law who retired to Florida in the ‘70’s, acquired a second set of dishes “too good to use” (and trust me, she never did!) with an eye, no doubt to having, when that day finally came, one set of dishes for each of her two daughters.

And so it came to pass that my wife and I ended up with a second set of dishes too good to use. This meant, and try to follow this as best you can, dear reader, that – because of lack of cupboard space – we had to throw away our every-day dishes and use our heretofore ‘too good to use dishes’ as our everyday dishes. So now as the years tumble by, my wife and I – because we have two daughters – are contemplating acquiring a second set of ‘too good to use’ dishes to avoid complications arising when that day finally comes. I guess one might say, “What goes around comes around” (especially with Jews!).

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