One of the highlights of my wedding day was knowing that the Desert Rose Franciscan China I was passed down from my grandmother was used at our reception.
I talk about this china a lot and if you have never seen it before, do yourself a favor and look it up on Google. It’s a pretty ivory-cream colored chia with pink roses and green vines ornately placed on it. And as many of you know from following my stories, my grandmother passed all of that china down to me long before I ever thought about getting married, learning to ride a bike or even writing my name on my own. My mother loved that china but my grandmother let it skip her entirely. It was for “Laura one day.”
So, when it came time over the past few months to complete bridal registries, china was the one thing I left off my list.
The sweet ladies in our community who purchased items on my registries didn’t understand why china was not on the list. Apparently the Southern un-said rule is that all the women go and purchase a piece of the china on your list and then, once your shower is over and newlywed life has settled in, you will have a complete set of china – sugar bowl, butter dish and all.
Instead, I made a point at our reception to incorporate my Desert Rose. It was used to plate cookies and mints and all kinds of goodies at the wedding. When the wedding was over it was time to clean those dishes and get them ready to be stored again. After all, you don’t want to use them, do you? And that is when I remember my mom telling me about all the things that my grandmother had that she never used for fear of them breaking or tearing up. All the china. All the blankets. All of the dishes to cook casseroles. So many things never used but always kept in pristine condition.
I washed those few Desert Rose dinner plates and put them in the regular cabinet in the kitchen – the cabinet that contains the Blue Willow China and the basic pattern china from Walmart that we use on a regular basis.
The next day, I made a big salad, sautéed vegetables and a creamy chicken casserole and plated it on the Desert Rose dinner plates.
Drew and I sat down for dinner and talked about our day and laughed at funny videos on social media, all the while our forks and knives clinking on those Desert Rose dinner plates.
I watched Leo’s sad eyes as he begged to lick the remnants of that chicken casserole from my plate. Then I smiled as his tail wagged happily while I held the Desert Rose dinner plate and he licked it clean.
I took warm soap and water and washed the Desert Rose dinner plates by hand and dried them with a towel, placing them ever so carefully in the cabinet to await the next day’s dinner.
Of all the things I’ve decided to do lately, using that china on a regular basis has been one of the best – a joy I can’t describe over something as silly as a fine china dinner plate.
So here is my advice for all of you, young and old. Use the fine china. Use it to plate cookies. Use it to serve your family a meal. Use it in whatever capacity you wish. Once day, the people who gave all of that to you will be long gone and then what enjoyment will you or they get from you using it? If it breaks, replace it. If you can’t replace it, take the pieces and turn it into art. Don’t let it sit in a box, tucked away for a special occasion. Your life is the special occasion, so enjoy it while you, and others, can.
Laura Pitts Wisdom is a former Daily Mountain Eagle reporter. She currently serves as director of the Scottsboro Public Library.