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Saturday, March 30, 2013

Setting a Table

Tulips waiting for the guests to arrive

Setting a table for dinner is a simple task. One that is done with an eye for utility. Plates, silverware, glasses and napkins ( I like to use cloth, hence the ironing written about previously).

Since I have been married, I have rarely used paper plates or paper napkins. It is a little extra work, but with a dishwasher (something that was not around when I grew up and we did dishes, and lived to tell) it really is not a hardship.

Some of my recent handiwork
I guess, it could sound a little like Mad Dogs and Englishmen go out in the noonday sun, but there you have it.

Now, setting a table for company is a whole different matter. It is one of those tasks that truly delights me. I enjoy getting out my china, a wedding gift from my mother and father in law*, the crystal and the silver.

I enjoy choosing the candle sticks, figuring out where everyone will sit and where the wine glasses will go. Planning the serving pieces and arranging the flowers for the table.

Claudia's tablecloth
Choosing the table cloth and the napkins is one of the best parts of this process. I have been blessed with: lovely vintage linens; napkins and table cloths,  I have carefully stored away.  It is as if I am walking through my past.

Nellie's napkins
The one I have taken out for the serving table is from my old friend Claudia, who has long since passed away. She would serve me lunch on her porch: table covered with this cheerful plaid. The napkins are from my husband's grandmother, Nellie. The linen is lustrous with it patina and damask. I have taken great pains to keep them stain free all of these years. (Peroxide, works best)  While she was living, I would visit her in her second story walk -up and nibble cookies served in her formal dining room, so quiet, so sedate.

One of my favorite tablecloths
My linen closet is filled with all sorts of items that, for me, a beauty to behold.
1. Embroidered pillow cases trimmed in hand made lace
2. Pulled thread work on guest towels
3. Cut work table cloths
4. Embroidered card table cloths
5. Damask table cloths and napkins
6. Pieced quilts
7. Monogrammed linen sheets

Today, my husband, son and daughter worked along side me; to dust, vacuum, wash floors and prepare food.  We are hosting the Easter celebration for my husband's family.  There is a feeling one gets when one is working along people you love, for people you love. Hard to explain, but so very beautiful to experience.

So when my son and daughter left to go out for the evening and my husband and I finished up the last few tasks to be accomplished, I was filled with: a wonderful sense of contentment;  for we had all pulled together in a harmony that comes with not the tasks accomplished, but the joy of preforming them together.

*I did not register for china, as I thought it very impractical  My mother-in-law said "nonsense! you will always buy what you need, but the things you won't ever get, are the things you will most enjoy." So she gave me the entire set. God rest her soul, I do love these dishes.

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