I have plans to use the good china this year for Christmas dinner. I don’t know when we used it last, but it’s going to take a full-scale emptying of the china cabinet with a complete assembly line of washers and driers to make the set ready for a meal. We have had no need for the twelve-plus place settings. Somehow, large formal dinner parties have not been on our priority list over the last decade or so.
My mother promised us her china when we married. We liked the set well enough, so never registered for any, not seeing much of a use for more. Then, to augment what we were getting, Grandma found a full set being sold by someone in Florida that was exactly the same pattern. She couldn’t pass up such a good deal and bought it, but never got around to shipping it. Being too frugal to have it packed and shipped for her, I suppose, she was waiting until somebody drove south or she could bring it up herself. Flying was the only way she came north, however. She would stagger from the plane strung with bags of citrus fruit and jars of coconut toast spread every year, so I can’t imagine there was ever room for china. After she died at the age of 99 it finally got shipped to Northville, just a few years before my mother moved to an apartment and downsized and the set moved to our house. I don’t remember it ever getting used together for a family dinner.
We’ll be using it this Christmas, just to say we did. We still don’t need twelve place settings, but five will be sparkling on the table to be used under a few old family recipes from years past. I’d like to think that my grandmother and mother would appreciate the effort, though they would probably wonder what had taken me so long.