Saturday, July 27, 2013

Travels with Dunbar Furniture

So how does it go? I'm moving along here. I have sorted through my dining room. Lots of STUFF!! But now it is organized and priced for the BIG SALE (sometime in October). I've posted the dining room furniture on Craig's List just to see if there is any interest.

mid century modern Dunbar table

What memories form around this dining room set. We purchased it second-hand in Syracuse, NY in early 70's for our very first house. It hosted our first dinner parties. We were part of a dining club where each couple would take turns planning and cooking a themed meal. I remember doing a French menu. With a newly purchased copy of Julia Child's "The French Chef Cookbook," and we were into some delicious food. (I still have that cookbook complete with food stains. Imagine it is 40+ years old.)

mid century modern upholstered side chair by Dunbar
Two kids, station wagon and all our worldly goods next traveled to Illinois, Naperville to be specific. Brr, didn't like the winters. Once a visitor's car actually froze to the driveway. But we endured 5 years. Our dining furniture hosted many spirited discussions as we made some lifelong friends. The table still bears faint fork marks from a wild cajun making his point. Yes, here we are years later still friends.

mid century modern upholstered end chair by Dunbar

Onto Wilmington, Delaware into a unique house in a unique community, Arden. Known as an artist's community we overlooked the green where dogs and kids romped. A too short sojourn close to family. and off to Houston.

mid century modern Dunbar credenza

For 5 years these chairs held friends and neighbors for large, frollicking holiday meals. Did I ever tell you about the time we forgot to turn on the oven to cook the turkey?  That happened to be the first year of the butterball hot line. Did you ever wonder who actually calls that? We did and their advice was wonderful!!

On to Geneva, Switzerland, to Atlanta, and finally the final spot here in Georgetown, Texas. This furniture has seen a lot, held some excellent food, and the wine, ooh-la-la. As I sift through my memories I see many special people. Strangers who have become family in all these places, who have shared our joys, who have supported us during troubles. I am reminded of the rich, vibrant life I have led.

I hope that the next family that owns this furniture has as much fun as we have had. On our island we will continue in the tradition of good food and visitors but without these beloved pieces.

Monday, July 22, 2013

A Pause

Monday, finds me with a full list of "to do's, " but my mind is on my son and his cat. A phone call tells me that Fyodor, the cat, has died. So what's the big deal, you ask? Fyo has been a part of my son's life for a long time, and, by extension, a part of our family.

In the wisdom that sometimes animals have he chose my son on a stormy day. Kind of a "look what followed me home" story. A miserable day in Baltimore this black cat is hiding from the rain and cold under my son's car as he comes out of his apartment to go to class. He runs away but remains in area until T returns. Wet, miserable, hungry he shows himself and follows T inside. A friendship begins. They lived together for 15 years, made at least 5 moves, got married and adopted a tiger-striped friend, Fiona. It has been a long life.

But he is only a cat, you say. Sure but like all good pets, he has offered unconditional love to my son. What a wonderful gift our pets give us. They are always so glad to see us. They bring us smiles with their antics. When life gives us challenges, they are there to cuddle and purr. They make us feel needed and important. So when they leave us, there is a void.

So this morning I salute Fyodor, the one eyed black cat who showed such wisdom 15 years ago to pick my son to be his owner. Way to go, Fyo!!!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Polishing Silver

My days are filled with research as I catalogue my dining room. Silver, silverplate, pewter, china, and linens. Bits and pieces of family history. Some things ignored for long periods of time - very tarnished - but others used lovingly at holidays. Some pieces of silver will find a new home with a sibling so they will continue in the family. A damask tablecloth and napkins made by my mom and used by me frequently will be taken by a sister-in-law. If they could talk, they hold over 50 years of family meals, celebrations, laughter, excellent food. Oh, the stories they could tell!

I am enjoying the slow, steady, warm memories that flow from the handling of all. So much of what is in my house contains stories. For example, as I polish the silver so it will look pretty, my memories start with my childhood. My hands turn gray with tarnish just as it did as a kid. Polishing silver was a chore my siblings and I handled. We complained. But now, as then, I'm fascinated by the soft glow of a knife or vegetable dish as it sheds the dirty looking tarnish and returns to its splendor.  An enduring splendor.

I can't help but regret that my children don't have the same awe of using objects over and over. They seem to be more concerned by the time and energy used to take care of china, crystal and silver. These things have to be handwashed, hand dried, and carefully stored. For me that is part of the celebration. Holidays are good food and special presentation. Ahh, the old fogie emerges. Yes, the most important part of a family meal is the people who share it whether on paper plates or fine china.... But as I handle the cloth napkins, the crystal wine glasses, the special plates and silverware I remember past meals shared with absent friends and family; how we laughed, what we ate, the promise of more good times. Do paper plates evoke nostalgia? Am I an old fool for even caring? (You all don't have to answer that!!! lol)