I was polishing silverware the other morning – yes, silver! – and thinking about the people who gave us that butter knife, teaspoons and salad tongs.
The tongs were so tarnished, they were solid black. I remember Bill and I had been given two pairs of the scissor-like salad servers when we got married 45 years ago.
Those specific tongs were heavier than ours, I noticed, so they must have been the pair that belonged to Bill’s parents. That meant the blackened silver I was rubbing was more than 65 years old.
One of the first pieces of silverware we were given was a plain little butter knife. When I opened the package at a bridal shower given by my mother’s friends in the Atlanta area, I thought it was one of the oddest gifts ever.
It was old and worn, and it wasn’t even our silver pattern. The mother of a childhood friend gave it to us, with a short note explaining something like “Every bride should have a piece of well-used silver passed along from someone else.”
Even since, I’ve tried to do that with brides who are special to me.
I looked closely at the knife. “Reliance Plate,” it read. It has the patina of fine scratches that come from years of use, both before we owned it and since.
Those marks are part of the love well-used things get.
Kind of like us as people, right? Scars and even graphite pencil marks under the skin. They all have stories.