Faye Field tells how her mother came to spend Thanksgiving with her one year, and as they set the table, her mother said, "I wish you had sterling-silver tableware like your sister."
Faye thought for a moment and said, "Mother, I am not knocking you or my sister, but I chose instead to have sterling friends."
I do not knock those who love fine china and sterling silver, but my attitude, like Faye's, is much more utilitarian. My tableware comes from many places.
One morning as I walked along the Tennessee Riverwalk, I saw a beautiful, almost-like-new fork, but the metal look was distinctive enough that I always recognize it. I added it to my collection, and every time I use it, I remember that peaceful walk and the joy I had watching the blue herons along the riverbank. That's a sterling-silver memory.
I have more sterling-silver memories centered on Thanksgiving than any other holiday of the year. Before Mother died, it was the one day of the year our family all got together. Mother cooked the turkey, and all the other ladies in our family fixed their specialties. What a feast! And the camaraderie always made it memorable.
We'd sit under "Old Oakie," a huge oak tree in the front yard of the old home place, or walk around the apple orchard where the fall air was heavy with the smell of Thanksgiving foods and fellowship to our heart's content.
Everyone knows how much I love birds, so my sister gave me some beautiful plates and bowls with pictures of birdhouses. I feast on the presence of my feathered friends right outside my computer room every day of the year. When I have cereal, I am reminded of my sterling-silver sister.
My dear friend Bob McGee ("the cracked potter") made several of my favorite bowls. Things taste better from those bowls because they are a point of contact with him. He, too, is sterling silver.
Back behind our home place and across the railroad tracks, there is a place we called the "Y," because two tributary branches form into a "Y" and empty into South Chickamauga Creek there. One year around Thanksgiving after mother died, I felt the need to reconnect with Thanksgivings past, so I fixed a sack lunch and drove down to that area, which is now a part of Water Haven subdivision.
There was still a thicket with a lot of pine trees there, and that place is sacred ground to me. When I was a teenager, I played hooky from school one day and spent the entire day there, with my head on my rolled-up coat in the thick pine needles, watching the clouds and talking to God. When I recapture a little piece of my life that way, it reminds me of the prophet Joel saying, "I will restore to you the years the locust has eaten."
Giving thanks is the sterling-silver field of consciousness. This Thanksgiving, I will gather my things, like the fork from the Tennessee Riverwalk, my bowls and my birdhouse dishes from my sis and "the cracked potter" and have a sterling-silver Thanksgiving.
I hope your heart is so full of sweet memories that you have the most sterling-silver Thanksgiving of your life and restore unto yourself some of the years the locusts have eaten.
Email Dalton Roberts at DownhomeP@aol.com.