This plate may not mean much to you. For me it is the joy of childhood. Being loved, belonging, the world being right.
My Nana had this china when I was a kid. I have eaten an untold number of Sunday dinners, Thanksgiving turkeys, and Christmas hams from plates that look just like these. Not the mention all the chocolate pie I have eaten off of this plate's baby brother. These dainty blue flowers bring with them a stampede of memories. My dad and Papa discussing theology and politics at the table. My brother saying "Nana, you really outdid yourself this time." and then looking anxiously around the table to see if he had used that phrase properly. My Papa giving my Aunt Debby a hard time "It's gravy night on Debby's shirt!" and Debby squealing at him and appealing to Nana, "Mom, make him stop!" We would eat and eat and eat until we were full and then we would have dessert. Nana would ask who wanted dessert and without fail Papa would say, "I don't ever remember turning it down except the one time I misunderstood the lady." When we were done my mom and Aunt Debby would fight over which one of them got to do the dishes for Nana. They both wanted to. From my childish point of view we were all unspeakably happy and this unspeakable happiness was all I knew for a long, long time.
In the years since big kid realities like disease and divorce have dismantled this happy scene. One by one those dainty blue flowered dishes all broke or were given away. Some perhaps were placed in storage and forgotten. My memories of those days were placed in storage and forgotten. New dishes replaced the old ones and my grown up reality replaced my childhood.
Until a couple of weeks ago when I was wandering aimlessly around my church garage sale. A pitcher caught my eye. Actually it was those dear blue flowers on the pitcher that caught my eye. The lady selling them must have seen it in my face...the look of seeing a long lost friend somewhere you would never have thought to look for her. She pulled the box out from under the table. A full set of the very same china my Nana had. She would sell it to me for fifty dollars. Chances to buy back a bit of your childhood wonder don't come around everyday. A quick trip to the ATM and they were mine.
Once they were home I left them on the counter like this for days. Every time I passed them feeling gleeful that they were mine to make glorious memories on with my children. Seeing my children celebrate with these loved old dishes and their big innocent eyes will be beautiful marriage of the past and present. An experience I am so thankful I will likely be able to have many times over in the coming years!