As I was reading through my daily blogs I’ve subscribed to, one of them is http://www.elegantwoman.org, I came across an article on proper etiquette. The writer’s comments took me back to a photo of my grandmother I have hanging on the wall in my bedroom. She was properly dressed for a social occasion. This photo jogged my memory of when , as a young girl, we would visit relatives. I remember my grandmother and great grandmother fussing over the preparation of the food and setting a proper table. They would pull out the the table pads and two extra leaves and cover the table with a white, freshly pressed tablecloth. Then, they would go to work setting a proper table like it was a work of art…water goblets, fine cutlery, cloth napkins, fine dishes, all set in their proper place. We would sit around for what seemed a long period of time discussing family affairs, all the while passing the platters of delicious foods. Whether it was a holiday or just coffee,as they called it, the table was always properly set. On the table, you could always find Danish open faced sandwiches on white bread, spread with fresh egg salad or a layer of real butter and hard sliced sharp cheddar cheese.There was a relish tray, piled high with homemade bread and butter pickles and black and green olives and whole baby dills. After we ate, we cleared the dinner dishes to make ready for my favorite part. Dessert dishes and coffee in tea cups and saucers (some of which I have now,) would be laid out. Homemade chocolate and minced meat pies on pretty pie plates and pinwheel cookies would be displayed. My grandmother still made chocolate pie with her homemade crust well into her nineties. Talking to my mother, I asked her what she remembered about my grandmother. “She always wore dresses and heels, said mom, even while cleaning the house.” As I’ve grown older, I still enjoy setting a proper table for special occasions. By the way, what is a special occasion? For us, it can be as simple as the neighbors coming over for a quiet dinner. I’m so grateful for my upbringing. It taught me the importance of life’s simple pleasures without cell phones and the internet to disengage us from real life.
Here’s a photo of my grandmother properly dressed at a social luncheon. You can see fresh flowers on the table and she is wearing gloves, hat and jewelry. Her blouse is monogrammed with her initials. MEH