Table Talk

I’m hanging away the freshly laundered, pressed “for best” tablecloth. I hadn’t planned to use it, but I’m glad that I did.

I had set out the Grandparents’ anniversary china with all its golden fancy. I love it for the stories that came with it and as the years have gone by, I’ve used it for many Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners enjoying the warmth and sparkle it brings to the table. The dishes make me smile. In spite of the elegance of gold, each piece is a little out of kilter and some are a bit flawed. In a way, they seem like family, all golden lovely but a bit flawed in the matching.

With the china came an exquisite hand embroidered table cloth – too special to use. This year when I went to the closet, I wondered why I was saving it. The size is perfect for the table and as I spread it carefully, I thought of the woman who invested countless hours creating such beauty in the later years of her life and I thought of her daughter-in-law who fearlessly gave tribute to occasions and her guests by using “the best” and most beautiful linens.


When we gathered round the table, the cloth was admired and I told a little of its story and mentioned that I wasn’t saving it anymore. In the quiet, my brother-in-law fingered the stitches gently with his work worn hands and thanked me for using it. I saw other fingers trace the stitched and as I looked at each face, I knew I had, in fact, saved it for the best. And, in a strange way it seemed as if the aged cloth imparted a kind of grace and dignity to the evening, a tribute to Thanksgiving and our guests.

I’m wondering what other things might be tucked in drawer or box or heart being saved “for best”. Best is now.