Monday, November 21, 2005

Forking Around

Jim and I spent the weekend going through stuff around the house in preparation for what I'd like to call "The Use What You've Got Holiday Extravaganza." Under consideration were boxes of household goods and utensils we've acquired over the years from elderly relatives who've passed on. It's a mixed bag, or in this case, a mixed box.

One item under contention was a box of silver-plated flatware that kept getting moved from place to place and had languished at the bottom of a cabinet in the kitchen, taking up culinary real estate until some magical time in the future when we'd have a big place and "do the holidays" at our house. We finally opened the box to examine the silverware and deemed it to be not what we would have chosen in terms of design or how it balances and feels in your hand. Too "Bronx renaissance" and overly ornate for us.

But there was a serving fork in there that didn't go with the set. It was pewter, from a manufacturer in Norway, and looked like something you'd get at the Museum of Modern Art's gift shop: clean, straight lines and a good heft. Yet, it probably cost Aunt Whoever or Cousin So-And-So about five bucks back in 1962 or thereabouts.

In fact, it looked like something we would get for ourselves, so into the silverware drawer it went. We brought the rest of the stuff to Housing Works Thrift Shop. Instead of putting the box in with the bags of clothes and books, a volunteer carried it tenderly to the back office, as if it were an infant being brought to a loving adopting couple.

I kept opening the silverware drawer last night to look at the fork. I felt like, instead of losing a box of silverware, we'd gained a fork. And instead of an idea of a big place, we're spending Thanksgiving in our small one, with the things and people that make us happy, and with me serving with the new old fork.

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