Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Dish Gene

As I was rushing out the door to work yesterday, I realized my coffee mug was still sitting on the stove and rushed back into the kitchen to get it. The tote on my shoulder knocked a plate off the table and broke it. This was an antique saucer and I still have two more like it, and I realize I should have gotten all three on a wall last summer, but I never got around to it. The broken one will go to my friend Cathy who is collecting everyone's broken blue and white dishes for a mosaic for the wall in her kitchen eating area, so at least there will be a use for the pieces.

The thing is every time I see those dishes, they make me smile. I'd been using that saucer as a landing place for my morning vitamins, and I don't know if I want to do that with either of the remaining saucers because, apparently, I'm not very good at restraining undisciplined tote bags early in the morning.

When my sister and I were in our twenties and thirties, we expressed amazement at our mother and aunt's collections of dishes. It seemed they saved every dish they encountered. They admired them. They practically petted them! We said we just couldn't understand what that was about and that we would never do it. I don't know about my sister, but I definitely have a dish thing now. I wonder if it's genetic. I wonder if there's something about our family's inherited brain structures or wiring that compels us to collect dishes since my grandmothers collected them too. In all honesty, I don't so much collect as just encounter various orphaned dishes, and if they make my heart sing, I "rescue" them. It's also true that yesterday I did stop at an antique store in Albuquerque and donate a small box of cups and saucers that I had rescued somewhere years ago--I told them if no dealer could use them, they could do whatever they wanted with them, but those dishes needed to bless someone besides me. The box included some fine porcelain cups that I've rarely used and that didn't make me smile every time I saw them.

That said, I do have a strong suspicion that there is, indeed, a dish gene. I wonder what my sister's dish collection is like!

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