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 . . .