I miss my grandmothers, and I miss my grandmothers' houses. I miss the cupboards in my grandmothers' houses, and how I pretty much knew where everything was or went, and how--on the off chance I didn't--I could dig around and through every day of the week and twice on Sunday.
I miss the dishes of the cupboards in the houses of my grandmothers. The white dishes at Grandma Shafer's had a matching pattern: green with Chinese huts on stilts, or some such. I'd know it in an instant if you put it in front of me. Glass glasses there, too, and we used them even as children: our spoons stirring chocolate syrup up from the bottoms like silver fish disrupting sand. I can almost hear my spoon tinkle against the glass like a quiet, little bell.
If dishes were breakable at Grandma Shafer's, they were non or chipped at Grandma Blickenstaff's but just as good, and my dishes, today, are like Grandma B.'s: mismatched and funny-stacked.
It matters less what's in a cupboard, I think, than how willing one is to see those doors swung wide by others. Whom will you allow to get up in your cupboards, and in how many cupboards do you know your way around? I know my mother's, of course, and I'm learning my mother-in-law's. I've been in Terye Jo's for the pink, aluminum tumbler she keeps for me, and I'd enter Christy's without a second thought, but it's worth that second thought.
Because I've fooled myself into believing I've established intimacy that isn't there. I've looked over those few who know my cupboards for folks ain't never been in my house, and I see suddenly: I have a need that can't be satisfied that way.
Call me if you want to come over for ice cream. I have black cherry. Chips on the rims of my bowls.
**Writing in community with Tanya and friends.