Thursday, April 4, 2013

But It's Too Nice to Use!

Thursday, April 4, 2013
We are so very casual these days, aren't we? A quick fast food dinner, right out of the paper bag, eaten in a hurry while we watch the news. Self service lunch--grab something out of the fridge and eat it standing up at the kitchen counter. Breakfast? Pick that up at the drive through on the way to work.

If we have nice dishes, they are artfully displayed in the china cupboard. If we inherited lovely linens from our grandmother, they are folded in a drawer or a closet. We don't use them.

Every time I go to an auction or estate sale, I find gorgeous china at astonishingly low prices. I even picked up a set--service for 8, perfect condition--at an auction for $12. I had a terrible time selling them. No one wanted them, despite the fact that it would have been cheaper to buy this lovely china than it is to buy generic dishes made in Asia at the local Big Box discount store.

I picked up a huge box of fine table linens at the flea market--damask tablecloths and matching napkins, all in very good condition, and ended up paying less than a $1 a piece for each item. We don't want them.

So I ask, rhetorically and otherwise, why not? Why don't we use them? Why don't we want them? The answer is usually something like, "They're too nice to use!" "It's too much trouble!"

Well, I'm here to say, "Use them! That's what they're for!" Who deserves to use and enjoy fine things more than we do? What is accomplished by having them sit, gathering dust and tarnish, in a closet or drawer? If you're preserving them for your children, they won't want them if they have no memories of having used them. If they get stained, what has been lost? At least you will have enjoyed them and the nice table you set.

At the very least, try some lovely cloth napkins at dinner! They're more environmentally friendly than paper napkins, so you can congratulate yourself on going "green."

If your family is really grubby, consider a piece of tempered glass cut the size of your tabletop. Doesn't cost much, and then you can use that lovely tablecloth and keep it protected. Buy some coordinating cheap placemats and use them on top the tablecloth to help guard against stains. If a plate gets chipped or broken, it can probably be replaced fairly affordably using one of the on line replacement services, or by checking on Ebay or Etsy.

We know that families who sit down together to a meal regularly reap many benefits. Why not sit down to a nicely set table while you're at it?

Of course, no one is suggesting we return to the days when Emily Post directed which uniform the Butler should be wearing for your luncheon, or how many forks are proper for an afternoon tea (, but for heaven's sake! It's NOT too nice to use! Indulge yourself!


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