Growing up, the china only came out for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners and since there were so many adults, I rarely got to eat off of it even then. My time with the china was getting it out of the cabinet above the refrigerator, where my mother kept it. If I was lucky, my mother “let” me set the table and I could place the plates on the table. After the meal was done, my aunts and girl cousins would gather in the kitchen to clean up. (You know, the womenfolk jobs while the men rested in the other room after a hard day of……..I’m not sure what they did exactly. Carve the turkey, maybe?) Counting my mother, there were 7 adult women and then as we kept adding girl cousins, well, the kids were invariably shooed out to make room. Our kitchen wasn’t big enough for even the 7 adults. Most of the girls were more than happy to be off somewhere else playing or talking or whatever.
Not me. I stayed in the kitchen. The aunts either usually forget that I was even there or didn’t mind because I was so quiet and as they relaxed they would more open, revealing more of their true selves. I loved listening to their gossip and small talk. I learned more about my extended family’s dynamics. I observed my mother and her sisters’ closeness. I saw how the two sisters-in-law fit into the mix. After the stress of preparing a meal for 30-40 people, it was nice to see everyone so relaxed and calm, just laughing and enjoying being together. And while this was taking place, I was silently taking the china as it was handed to me, drying it carefully and then stacking it to later be transferred back to the cupboard for safe keeping.
Since I have become the owner of the china, we have hardly used it and I jokingly said we were going to start using it every day. What’s the point of having it if it’s never used???
This post is my contribution to Hugh’s Photo Challenge: Week 2- What’s in the Cupboard? You can click on the link to find out how you can take part. 🙂