Monday, February 18, 2013

The Cupboard

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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.

23 comments:

  1. my cupboards right now are usually gone thru by my sons and their friends. The friends know their way around in my kitchen. The other day I was in there and Mr. Friend comes in opens the frig, grabs a cup from the cupboard and pours himself what he pleased, my chocolate milk that NOBODY touches. At this point I felt a need to scould him like I do my own as well.

    I use to know my way around my grandma's kitchen as well. I just went thru it in my head. That was fun!

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    1. I smiled, thinking of your getting after Mr. Friend. Maybe you should label your chocolate milk like I used to label my stuff in the fridge at work. :)

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  2. I've come here from Tanya's place. Very interesting cultural point here. Certainly in my part of Europe no one would think of helping themselves in someone else's cupboards - it would be a sign of being very close indeed. I would ask first even in my Mum's house.

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    1. Huh. I've never been out of the USA and didn't consider how it might be different elsewhere, which is too often the case, I suspect. But that's what's so great about the blogosphere, and I got a little thrill, thinking you were visiting from so very far away.

      I'd like to make friends of the Russians who visit here all the time, but I reckon they're very shy.

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  3. But if I could I would gladly come for ice cream and would not care what your crockery is like :-)

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  4. You can paw through my cupboards anytime you like. I love when friends make themselves at home. I know the feeling of the intimacy of being allowed in the cupboards. It feels a lot like love. :)

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    1. Hooray! I'll be right over! I really do hope to meet you IRL this year...

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  5. Brandee,

    The ice cream date sounds lovely. I could bring strong coffee to balance out our sweet treat. Wish all of us blogging friends could do that some day :)

    Re your comment on my older post "A Coffee Break with the Stars,"
    you're so sweet to me. :) Thanks for the compliment. We all need to hear that sometimes -- as I lean in close to the mirror and notice more and more silver hairs these days.

    What do you mean by a Cade verse? He's one of your sons, right?

    Jennifer Dougan
    www.jenniferdougan.com

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    1. Yes, Cade is my oldest child. Our pastor asked us to choose verses for his infant ceremony, and I chose James 1:17 because (having gotten pregnant w/ Cade on my 25th b-day) I liked the gift aspect of the verse. :)

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  6. I love this for so many reasons. I am transported to my Mimi's house - her old one, and her "new" one (where she has lived now for about two decades) and I picture the blue glasses and the fiestawear and the plates with blue and green funky flowers. And my greenish-yellow little plastic cup - that my mom and aunts used -and she gave me a couple of years ago - which now my little boys drink water out of. It is the simplest of cups, but to me it says, "home." I know where everything goes at my grandma's house b/c I spent so much time with her and my Papa. At Thanksgiving one year, my less-than-involved-aunt had no clue where to put some things, but I knew that kitchen better than my own. Intimacy is a beautiful, beautiful thing - and I will treasure my relatioship with my that set of grandparents more than most anything else in this world.

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    1. Thank you, Amanda. I'm so glad (for you, even moreso than for me) that you understand just what I was trying to say. :)

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  7. There's something about grandmother's cupboards for sure and how they never minded grandchildren going in, no matter how house-proud.
    I loved the smell of wood of one particular one belonging to my Nana, now sits at my Dad's & hopefully will come to us one day.
    Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Grandmas tend to be longsuffering, don't they? :) Thanks for reading.

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  8. The ice cream shows your wisdom!

    Thanks for your comment today.

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    1. I do (just like my grandma) love some ice cream.

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  9. do you know i think this post is so beautiful! it makes you think all afresh about intimacy and love and how much we have in this online, non-touch world of ours! how many people's cupboards do i know, have i opened? thought provoking and slightly scary when you know you need less time online and more time in real time! thank you for such a beautiful post and also i have to say thank you for one of the most heart stoppingly beautiful comments i have ever had on my blog today! and yes it will be an honour having you follow along for a while. if you were closer in real world distance i would be round for ice cream and you could even have a look in my cupboards as well!

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    1. Well, you never know. I get discouraged, sometimes, by what seems like a lack of intimacy. But then I think how I wouldn't know someone far away, like you, if it weren't for the Internet. And then...then I think how sometimes the people who take the time to read my heart know me best, after all.

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  10. My boys bring home friends - who quickly learn, by the second or 3rd visit, where the spoons, the cups, the water, the soup ladle is. Oh,yes, hospitality - do you care enough to break bread, share tea? I want to sit over some of that black cherry ice cream with you, Brandee! I want to care enough that I know you enough that I know where I can pull a cup out of the cabinet for water - that's true friendship:)

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  11. BTW - your post made my day! You inspired me:) Stop by - got ice cream! LOL

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  12. I love the intimacy here, Brandee, and all the specific details that show how much you know of these places. I get the sense that the fillings of these cupboards have made their way deep down into your bones. That's a gift to read.

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