“People can say what they like about the eternal verities, love and truth and so on, but nothing’s as eternal as the dishes”

Last night the sky opened and the rain fell and kept falling until just a little while ago. I’m thinking we got an inch or more of rain. During the height of storm the wind was fierce, and the trees were blown about as if it were a hurricane. I have a branch down in the front yard, and my umbrella, despite its 100 pound base, tipped over onto the deck rail. One of my giant clay pots either fell or, more likely, was shoved off the rail and it shattered on the steps. I saw two grey spawns chasing each other on the deck, amorously I suspect, and they might be the broken clay pot culprits. I cleaned the mess and now have dirt under my nails.

I like Sundays, and though they are no longer the same quiet Sundays of my childhood, they do seem more subdued than any other day of the week. The kids aren’t playing in the street and even the dogs are quiet. I remember Sunday dinner as my favorite meal of the week, and I remember all of us eating together at the table. That was unusual as my Dad worked long hours and generally came home late, after we’d already eaten. He was a salesman who worked back then for J. P. Manning Co, a huge tobacco wholesaler in Boston which, among other things, sold cigars and cigarette vending machines. Once I went with my Dad to his office in Boston, but I stayed in the car. All I remember is seeing the name J. P. Manning across the top of a window.

Every dinner on Sunday had a roast as the center piece, mashed potatoes, gravy and a vegetable or two: green beans, peas, yellow waxed beans or string beans, all from cans. My mother bought her set of Sunday dishes from the supermarket, a dish a week. She also bought the accompanying dishes including a gravy boat, a vegetable server which held two vegetables and a platter for the cut slices of meat. The dishes were off-white with what looked like wheat on them as a decoration and were made of melmac. Though the dishes lasted forever, they started to fade over time and were relegated to being every day dishes.

When my mother started serving Sunday dinner on real dishes, it was cause for celebration. My mother was acknowledging we were growing up and could now be trusted with breakable dishes.

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9 Comments on ““People can say what they like about the eternal verities, love and truth and so on, but nothing’s as eternal as the dishes””

  1. olof1 Says:

    We’ve had a really nice day here, lots of sunshine but also lots of clouds. It did get very warm for a while and it felt like we were walking in a steam, bath A weak wind arrived and saved us though.

    I remember our set of Sunday dishes, it was sort of orangey yellow with prints of important places in Britain or perhaps only London 🙂 I think she got that when we followed my father on the ship he worked (I was one year old so I don’t remember anything) on. It oo became every day dishes after a few pieces broke and she couldn’t replace them, Internet wasn’t invented and it is some distance to Britain after all 🙂

    One more week and then it’s vacation time again 🙂

    have a great day!
    Christer.

    • katry Says:

      Christer,
      The sun is shining but it is also cloudy. I’d go with partly sunny rather than partly cloudy. It is also getting warm here.

      That is a rather interesting set of dishes. They were really memories for your mother which is very cool. She could look at the plates and think of London. It is too bad they all broke.

      Have a great Sunday! I’ll count off the days with you!!

  2. Bob Says:

    We always went out to eat on Sunday evenings. Generally either Chinese or Italian. When I moved in with my aunt and uncle in NYC Sunday evening dinner was either Chinese, Italian or take out from the neighborhood delicatessen. You see my love of Chinese food is deeply imbedded in my Eastern European Jewish genes. 🙂

    When I was a kid in Dallas Sunday mornings was Hebrew school to study for my Bar Mitzvah. A rabbi hires an exterminator to rid the synagogue sanctuary of mice. After several unsuccessful attempts the rabbi places a huge cheese wheel on the pulpit. All the mice appear to eat the cheese. He then proceeds to Bar Mitzvah and Bat Mitzvah them, he doesn’t want to leave out the female mice, and then they completely disappear from the synagogue forever.

    Today Chinese kids go to Chinese school, Indian kids go to Indian school. That’s dot not feather Indian. I wonder if their kids today whine about going to religious or cultural school as much as I did or that my son did when he was younger. 🙁

    BTW he hasn’t passed through a synagogue door since his Bsr Mitzvah.

    The cold from has passed on by and the temperature and the humidity are coming up slowly. In July and August all the rain we had in May will be gone and we will be broiling under the hot 100+ degree sky. Our area lakes are over flowing and the Trinity River is at flood stage.

    • katry Says:

      Bob,
      My parents couldn’t afford taking us all out to dinner. We had a great Chinese restaurant in town but never went there. Once or twice a year we went to Kitty’s, a restaurant on the next town. The food was good, plentiful and inexpensive. It was always a huge treat to go out. (My parents told us that kids were not allowed to eat Chinese food).

      I imagine the kids still whine. It is the nature of kids not to like what is forced upon them.

      That’s funny about the mice!

      I know how hot and humid your summers are so I’m sorry that the ugly weather is arriving. We won’t have horrible humidity until August.

      • flyboybob Says:

        Did you ever ask your parents, ‘What do the kids in China eat?’ Since you don’t get the horrible humidity until August, where do you all go to escape the weather? Do the tourists go home in August? 🙂

        My maternal grandfather had a brother who immigrated to Duluth Minnesota from Russia in the early 1900s. When I was a kid I remember his kids taking a winter vacation in New York City where it was warmer. It’s all relative. 🙂

      • katry Says:

        Bob,
        I never did ask hem that. I just figured it was rice.

        August is heavy duty tourist month. They are all over. I turn on my AC if the humidity gets unbearable. Some days I sit on the deck where if there is a breeze to be had, I get it.

        I have two friends from North Dakota who come to the Cape for the winter where it’s warmer.

  3. Hedley Says:

    Im6. – Made in California is blasting out and we are BBQing….time to leave Austin and head North.

  4. Caryn Says:

    Hi Kat,
    I can’t remember special Sunday dinnerware when I was very young. I know there was a china service that was yellow with an old timey scene of hay wains and rustic English cottages. Those were in the pantry so they must have been everyday dishes. Or perhaps they went to the pantry after the Noritake took over the china closet.
    My mother almost always served food on real plates. We got the good stuff on Sunday, too. I think she figured home was the best place to learn how to cope with breakable dinnerware.

    When my brothers had kids, the kids got real plates when they ate here. After graduating from sippy cups, they got real wine glasses too. Cheap ones but real. They loved it that they had adult glasses and could join in the toast at the beginning of a meal. Each spilled his or her share of “kid wine” as they got used to stemware but raspberry ginger ale doesn’t stain so no problems there. 🙂 They’re in their twenties now and still call it kid wine.

    It was windy and rainy up here too. I finally had to close most of the windows around 1PM. Too cold. I’m sort of glad I haven’t put away my winter clothes yet. A sweater was definitely needed. 🙂

    Enjoy the evening.

    • katry Says:

      Hi Caryn,
      Sorry for the delay in answering but I actually went to bed at nine and slept through to this morning. I was exhausted.

      It was when we were all really young we had the unbreakable, but I think we had them more because they were inexpensive and could be bought one at a time. Later my motherhood several sets of dishes, even ones for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

      I think we all use real plates, including my sister with the grandchildren. I like the idea of the stem glasses for kids to use. That would most definitely make them a part of the meal.

      I lost some branches with all that wind, and I too wore a sweatshirt last night.

      I think I slept through the whole evening!


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