Sunday, March 20, 2011

Butter Knives

After Daddy died, Jeff and I got together to divide the "stuff". Walker couldn't be there, which was really dangerous for him, but we promised him we would be fair!

About a year before, I had taken the silver from Daddy's condo and inventoried it, sending a list to both Jeff & Walker to "protect" myself for sure. So when Jeff and I got together it was really just about seeing what was there and dividing it into thirds.

Miss Chris' coffee urn was very contemporary
My Delta grandmother loved sliver. She used it every day, as if it was nothing special. Although, she knew it was special and we knew it was special too. But she didn't keep it hidden away only for special occasions; she used it all the time. So, it was well worn by the time it got to me and my brothers. But, that was and is part of its charm.

It's funny how mores change. When I went to her home in the Delta, dinner was the meal in the middle of the day and she had all her finery in full show. Sterling silver place settings and serve ware. Crystal water glasses as well as ice tea glasses. Ice tea spoons that also served as "straws" (a real gem I wish we still had). Dessert forks, salad forks, salad knives and meat knives. They were all there and all monogrammed with a "U" labeling them as ours.

But the most special pieces were the individual butter plates and butter knives.I know fine hotels had place settings like these, but no one I knew ate like this at home. Only at my grandparents, both in Memphis and Louise, did we have such luxuries. I especially loved the butter knives. They were petite, sturdy, and beautiful!

When we looked at Daddy's silver, we saw there was a set of 12 butter knives. In today's world very few of us have 12 people for a formal dinner and when we do, we never have an individual butter plate for each person. What is the need for 12 butter knives any more?

So, we divided the 12 into thirds with each of us got four knives, and, I am sure, thinking, "when and how will we ever use these?".

My sweet niece Jennifer got married in December. I bought her the usual stuff a bride is excited to get...a mandolin, a stainless steel microplane grater, paring knives, and some type of pancake batter thing-a-ma-jig. But I also decided to give her a butter knife. A monogrammed butter knife from her great-grandmother from the Delta. They never knew each other.. but I hope that by having her great-grandmother's butter knife, she will, in some small way, carry the memory of the Delta into her life.

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