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Peggy Barnhardt: What Is Truly Special?

I was brought up in the era of curios and china cabinets, places where delicate, specialty items were stored and admired from afar, like museum pieces of fine art.

What made these items so distinctive — plates of prestige saved for only select occasions and acclaimed guests that seemed to sport celebrity to us kids — that was the common view of the day.

The frequent breakage of the regularly used dishes due to sibling rivalry and mishandling made these others off limits.

Matched sets were non- existent in real family life but were alive and well in the china cabinet. Name changes over the years have taken place: credenza, armoire, buffet; however it remained a forum for the proud display of precious things.

Grandma always had a wealth of party dishes carefully housed in her authentic ebony wood curio; petite and large capacity pink crystal vessels in various shapes, cut glass saucers to compliment her array of delicacies: prune danish, fruit cake, sweet potato pie. Only damask napkins were called for to remove crumbs of such caliber. They lay peacefully at bay.

In reminiscing, now that I am the grandma, I have to think reflectively, why were these things being guarded and protected from use? Was it because that generation had so few things to cherish? Was it the wrong perception of things in general? Aren’t our families the most special feature of our lives? Why would we be depriving them of the beauty and elegance of dining in style regularly? Why would we not impart the etiquette that goes along with proper eating manners?

Maybe maturity and wisdom have defined and refined my judgment of what is really significant — I use my belongings of value and importance on people who are most valued and special now, reserving nothing for regrets, enjoying the trip and having the best of both worlds.

Think about it.

Peggy Barnhardt lives in Salisbury.

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