Since there were only a few bowls, utensils and a pot from dinner, she’d decided to wash them by hand instead of using the dishwasher. When she finished drying the last item, a stainless steel ladle she and her husband had used to fill their bowls with homemade chicken noodle soup, she reached to put it in the crock sitting to the right of the stove. She smiled as she noticed the crock, not even aware she was doing so. She paused, ladle in hand, as her thoughts drifted to the origins of the crock:
It was an inexpensive piece of stoneware -- the Yorktowne pattern by Pfaltzgraff. It was decades old now, but she’d taken good care of it and there were no chips in its putty colored surface. The blue “UTENSILS” lettering and surrounding flourishes looked brand new. About five inches in diameter and seven inches high, the piece was roomy enough for her favorites among the wooden and stainless accessories she’d accumulated over the years.
It didn’t really go with the décor of the small galley kitchen, but it had sat proudly on the countertop of each house she’d lived in: this cozy little villa by the sea in South Carolina; the stately Victorian they’d lived in for 29 years in Ohio; and their first house, a bare-bones split level in a crowded subdivision in New Jersey.
The crock had been a gift from her mother, matching the set of dishes her mother had bought for her, one place setting at a time. Terry had fallen in love with the pattern as soon as she saw it in a store display. But with three growing children, a mortgage and a car payment, the young couple just couldn’t afford another set of dishes. So, little by little, Terry’s mom completed the set and then added accessory pieces. The crock was the last. The best part for Terry was knowing her mother didn’t even like the pattern – she unselfishly bought it because she knew Terry loved it.
When Terry and her husband were preparing for the move from the sixteen room Victorian to a two bedroom villa, she’d had to be ruthless in her editing of what would make the cut for a place in the moving van. Sadly, the set of Pfaltzgraff dishes couldn’t go, but Terry vowed she’d keep the crock, for remembrance, even if she had to wrap it in bubble wrap herself and carry it in her lap during the long drive.
So now it sat in a light, beach-y kitchen, on display for all to see: a token of the sweet, unconditional love a mother had for her only daughter. Terry smiled again, coming out of her reverie. Moving aside wooden spoons and other utensils, she gently placed the ladle in the crock. Running her finger around the band of blue accenting the rim, she whispered, “Thanks again, Mom…I love you, too.”