(This is a fictionalized story based on my true experience .)
Corrine sighed as the comforting turkey scent wafted through the dining room. She glanced at the clock, mentally judging her Thanksgiving dinner’s preparation with the arrival of the daughter and grandchildren. Her mother’s china, crystal wine goblets, and silverware were lovingly arranged on the dining room table. Corinne continued polishing a silver fork from Mother’s rosewood silverware box and placed it next to a wine goblet.
She thought back to holidays at Mom’s house in year’s past. The chandelier lights shimmered and bounced off each shining goblet and silver utensil. Mom would move a spoon a fraction of an inch and then place a chocolate kiss on each plate. “There, to show them how much they are loved.”
Corrine’s husband mumbled something unintelligible from the family room. “What are you doing in there?” Corrine called.
“I’m converting your Dad’s old 8-mm movie films to a CD. We can show the grandkids pictures from your childhood.”
Corrine returned to the kitchen and poured a glass of wine. She pulled her mother’s favorite casserole dish from the cupboard. Her thoughts turned again to memories of past holidays.
She recalled the Christmas and Thanksgiving dinners when mom and “the girls” all wore party dresses specifically chosen for the event. The tradition ended when her mother passed away.
Over the years, Corrine was now “Grandma,” and her daughter took her position in the generational family chain. Different little children bustled through the house. “Where have the years gone?”
Corrine returned to the dining room and placed the polished fork on the table. Using Mom’s silverware was a tradition that had continued for 60 years, throughout years of young motherhood and the same silverware still appeared on every holiday dinner table. It was a constant, defying the loss of loved ones, gray hair, or climbing through the links of the family chain. One day, the silverware would grace her daughter’s holiday table; a reminder of her childhood holiday memories. Using the silverware would become part of her tradition as she created new memories for her children.
When and where had Mom gotten the silverware? It wasn’t likely to have been a wedding present, since Mom and Dad were married during the Great Depression.
Corrine stood back to admire her table setting. It looked nice. “Oh! I almost forget the chocolate kiss,” she said, adding Mom’s droplets of chocolate love on each plate. Mom would be pleased she had continued the gesture.
“Honey, come take a look at this,” Corrine’s husband called from the living room. “It’s one of your Dad’s old Christmas movies from when you were a baby.”
They sat together on the couch, watching the jumpy black and white film flicker across the bed sheet pinned to the wall. The speckles became Corrine’s mother and dad. It was Christmas Day, 1946. Cousin Dolly and Beverly hugged giant dolls and little Allan sat on the floor in front of the Christmas tree. Corrine, a three-year-old toddler, held an enormous doll. An unbelievably young mother smiled at her from the bed sheet. Corrine’s nine-year-old brother chased little cousin Allan around the room with his new BB gun, making faces at the camera. Big sister and Cousin Wilbur ripped open puzzles and books. Only one last gift remained unopened.
Dad handed a large package to Mom. She smiled, looking uncomfortable in the spotlight. The Christmas wrap fell away. She opened the beautiful rosewood box filled with shiny new silverware. Her face beamed and she mouthed a silent “thank you.”
Corinne gripped her husband’s hand. How Dad must have sacrificed to buy such an expensive gift in 1946 when jobs were scarce and times were hard.
Here was the birth of Corrine’s most precious family tradition; the beautiful rosewood box filled with William Rogers’ silverware. A connection she still shared with her mother, one that she would continue to share with her daughter and her granddaughter for years to come.
The oven buzzer sounded. The turkey was done. Corrine wiped tears from her eyes, picked up her wine goblet and hurried to the kitchen. Time was getting away and the children would soon be here!