I will be back tomorrow with bread for Christmas breakfast, but I have been muttering to myself all morning and I have to share with you lest the nice people at the craft store have me arrested later today when I start screaming "I mean, what is it all FOR anyway?" in the trim aisle.
I have pretty plates covered in pink flowers. I inherited them from my grandmother. I store them in weird plastic pouches which have the appearance of quilting. Just recently I had the good sense to label the weird plastic pouches so that I don't have to open 10 of them before I find the soup plates.
Because, you see, I sometimes have to find the soup plates. Sometimes I have people over for dinner, on Christmas, or on random Tuesday night. Sometimes I have enough of my everyday dishes and I just use those. Sometimes I need more dishes, or I'm feeling fancy. Once I pulled out my pretty pink-flowered dessert plates and the spare yellow-flowered dessert plates (that's them, there with no plastic pouch) for a four year old's birthday party, in the park.
Yes, I am that mythical person, the one who uses the nice things. And you would not believe the grief I catch for it.
"Oh, you don't need to pull out the fine china for me."
"I never registered for china. What's the point?"
"Oh, the fine china, fancy schmancy. [absurd comment about the queen.]"
"I have my [ancestor]'s china but it's too good to use."
Of course I don't need to pull the fine china out for you. But I have it, and it's pretty, and it makes me happy to use it. You are my guest, and my friend, and you are important.
The point is that some people like pretty plates. Other people don't, which is fine. But I'm sure I could go to your home and point out some object you love that serves no purpose other than that you love it.
I'm an American. I don't have a queen. Even if I were an Englishwoman living in London (Because that's the queen they mean.) it's unlikely that I would ever entertain a queen. As it turns out my nice china comes not from the side of my family you would expect, but from the midWesterners who were just a generation or two removed from European immigrants, the "Real Americans" as it were.
What on earth is too good to use? What good would these plates do me if I left them forever sealed in their weird plastic pouches. Yes, I would preserve them. They would be safe from children and guests and random acts of the Beagle. But life is not safe. Life is messy and things get broken (though less often than you might think.) Someday I might not have enough plates and won't be able to find replacements that match. Then I'll have to buy other plates that don't match, and my table will be a riot of pretty plates that get along even though they aren't identical.
That doesn't sound so bad.