20 June, 2011

Goodwill: Duluth

It was so cold in Duluth and we hadn't packed for the rain. So as we passed the Goodwill for the fourth or fifth time, I pulled into the parking lot, as close to the front door as possible. We ran to the front door through the rain shivering, looking for warm sweaters and sweat pants. But the first item my eyes fell on was a sugar bowl matching the Noritake China my mother gave me so many years ago.  It was elegant and lovely without a flaw or chip. I held it delicately as my memory moved back to my child hood. We rarely used that china. It was reserved for special occasions which never arrived. Graduations, funerals, marriages, births all passed without the special china gracing the table. When she passed it on to me I was determined it would not be hidden away. I had a special display case built with glass doors and spot lights so I could catch a glimpse of it every time I passed. And we used it often, holidays, Sundays, birthdays, special teas, children's accomplishments. new friends for dinner. And at one point a guest recognized the dishes, turned over a plate to verify it's origin and then insisted I reset the table with something more ordinary. I pointed out that they were dishes first and forever, and that we were celebrating our new friendship, but she wasn't convinced.  When I read her obituary, detailing her long, slow dance with ovarian cancer, I took out one of the paper thin porcelain Noritake cups and a matching saucer, filled it with jasmine tea and drank it slowly, thinking only of my friend and celebrating her life.

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