Life is Just a Bowl . . .

Written by Cathy

It’s the yellow ware bowl with the blue stripe. The one with the spider web cracks that testify to the many years of use. That’s the bowl I needed because I was making potato salad, and no other bowl would do. My grandmother had made potato salad in that bowl, then my aunt, now me. Isn’t it strange that no other bowl would do?

When we were young and my brother played football on the crisp autumn evenings that would soon yield to those bitter cold nights of impending winter, my mother would prepare macaroni and cheese or perhaps baked rice pudding in a worn and cracked casserole encircled with pink and blue flowers. Our little house would fill with the warmth from the oven, and our bellies would fill with the warmth of its contents. So as we jostled each other on the crowded sidewalk leading to the stadium, we were warmed not only by our scratchy woolen scarves and hats and our thick parkas but by our recent substantial dinner. Carb loading, I guess. My sister inherited that worn casserole, and it is so treasured that when she saw a similar one at a local flea market, she had to have that one, too.

Our family was a large one, even by those earlier standards with six girls and two boys filling out the count. At Thanksgiving, if my aunt were preparing the holiday stuffing, she would use the only receptacle large enough to hold that cubed bread and flavorful mix of onions and celery sauted in rich, golden butter. She mixed the fragrant ingredients in a large, yellow, enamel basin. I have inherited Thanksgiving as my holiday to host, so I, too, have put that basin to good use. And so it goes.

Yellow ware bowl, flowered casserole, enamel basin. None would be valued by experts. No moment of nerve-wracking suspense as the dealers from Antiques Roadshow deliver their verdict. Sorry, the value is sentimental only. And yet, don’t we all cling to those items that carry bittersweet memories of a time we can enjoy only as fleeting impressions–a taste, a touch or a smell? So as I prepare that potato salad or rice pudding or Thanksgiving stuffing, a smile warms my heart. Life is just a bowl . . .

5 comments for “Life is Just a Bowl . . .

  1. Mary
    July 17, 2012 at 9:34 am

    Wonderful! You really captured the feelings and memories we attach to those everyday objects.

  2. Cathy
    July 17, 2012 at 2:14 pm

    I love sharing these memories with you. It may not be a bowl, but we all have some things that open the flood gates to our past. As we grow older the memories become more precious.

  3. July 17, 2012 at 3:45 pm

    THIS is why almost everything in my house is second-hand, vintage, or antique. Maybe I haven’t created that history with an item yet, but it’s fun to imagine the stories and lives of the people who have.

    • July 17, 2012 at 11:14 pm

      I agree with you, Amelia! I have discovered a new love of vintage and antique home items. I love imagining the hands that have held them or used them and the stories in the cracks and crevices.

  4. Cathy
    July 17, 2012 at 9:54 pm

    I thought of you when I was writing this. Maybe you have an old soul?

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