I keep forgetting. There are so many I-didn’t-mean-to’s in my disjointed life. Stacked in the cupboard next to my pile of cobalt blue I-really-intended-to’s. The stacks nearly reach the top now, and the shelf is beginning to bow under their weight. My good intentions are so, so heavy.
The cupboards in my kitchen are custom made. Nice ginger stained maple doors with distressed panels to hide my bang around kind of lifestyle. Large, beautiful cabinetry that was once so crisply clean and tidy. I unpacked the boxes when we moved from the old house, placing my dishes on the virgin shelves in neat little stacks, shifting and rearranging as my logic re-thought how I might be moving and working in the kitchen five years down the road. There are two dozen dinner plates with red gingham borders. Practical Corelle dishes; ones the kids could bang into piles as they lifted them from the dishwasher. I’ve used those very dishes as long as we’ve lived here, not far from two decades now. They do not make anything in Corelle nearly as charming any more. I’d buy new ones, only I don’t really care for anything they make these days. So I continue to fill and use and wash and stack the same old dishes over and over.
Below those plates is a set of green plaid china, once used at the Thanksgiving tables of my childhood. We rarely set those, unless we have a very large crowd, but I feel a sort of safety knowing they are there, holding the feast of memory: of brown autumn carpets of grass outside the windows of the homes in my past, of mounds of mashed potatoes next to strips of turkey meat covered with a volcanic flow of gravy, fragrant molten deliciousness filling the spaces in a clump of stuffing like lava covers pridefully built little villages at the base of old volcanoes. I cherish those old green plates. My children would not know why, but for these words.
So we keep the bright red plates for those very, very uniquely and yet universally accepted days when we celebrate each others' accomplishments and token anniversaries.
That’s how it should be.
If only I could remember they were there.