I always thought of bridal showers as a fun way to help the bride get a step ahead. A way to fill her house with all the little things so that when she got back from her honeymoon she could at least attempt to put a meal together. But over the years I’ve realized showers are more than that. They are memory makers.

My friend Tina blew up and framed our wedding invitation which I found very touching. I hung it on the wall and thought of her often. My friend Carol had seen me eyeing a too expensive little white chiffon nightie that I thought would be perfect for my honeymoon and she surprised me completely when I opened it at my shower. I often thought of her when I came across it in my drawer, and again later when my little girls borrowed it for dress up time because on them it looked like a wedding gown.

My friend Debbie gave us a wooden fruit bowl that looked so convincing that toddlers would try to bite the apple or nibble the clump of grapes and I would laugh and think “I need to tell Debbie about this.” Its demise came when a dog we had found and sheltered for the night had also believed it to be real fruit. (I did not tell Debbie this.)

Each time I came across the green cut-glass cruet for our salad dressing I smiled and thought of my cousin Missy, and my deep blue lasagna pan called to mind my cousin Sandy.

I had also received two sets of ceramic nesting bowls. I don’t recall who gave me the darker set with ears built in but the largest bowl turned out to be my daughter Trisha’s favorite and for kicks and giggles I passed it on to her at her bridal shower with a silly little poem alluding to the ‘something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue’ idea. I think it went “This bowl is old, but once was new. You don’t have to borrow it - I’m giving it to you. Sorry it’s not blue.”  She still has it.

The lighter set of bowls came from my Aunt Irma and they were my favorite. I used the biggest bowl nearly every day, sometimes twice a day. But I always thought of Aunt Irma when I pulled it out. Four or five years ago I found it too hard to keep stacking the smaller ones inside it each time I put it back on the top shelf so I just put it on its side and leaned it into the others. 

A few months ago I was putting dishes away and when I opened the cupboard door that bowl came rolling out for absolutely no reason. My hands were full of dishes and it was either let it crash into my new plates to save my bowl or deflect it with my arm onto the microwave until I could free up my hands.

I chose option two but option two didn’t choose me. The bowl merely bounced off the microwave and hit my ceramic tiled floor with a loud bang and then shattered into 16,790 pieces. There were pieces in the office, the family room, the sun room, even the pantry. And to get into the pantry the pieces had to go around the corner! I was utterly speechless!

And I was in mourning. You would have thought my Aunt Irma had died all over again for what I felt I had lost when that bowl hit the floor. Forty-seven years of memories fractured into as many pieces as days I had owned and used the bowl. With heavy heart I retrieved the pieces and put them in the trash.

As sad as I am, I’m also thankful for the memories that the bowl and all the other shower gifts have given me over the years. In the beginning they were just useful items that I would need as a young housewife. But as you can see, they became much more.

debbiehough@gmail.com

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