The bowl was clear glass with a fluted edge around the top opening. It sat in the center of my parents’ dining room table for as long as I can remember, sometimes with artificial flowers in it (not very attractive ones, in my opinion) in a seasonal color to match whichever tablecloth my mother had put on the table.
When my father was moving out of the house he and my mother had lived in for over 50 years, we used the dining room as a staging area.
The bowl was now off to the side in a “donate or give away” section, put there by my sisters on a previous visit. I moved it to a “still thinking about it; not sure what this means to me” area because I had such vivid memories of the bowl and how it spoke of my mother’s style.
The bowl was inexpensive, a testament to my mother’s frugality, and it usually sat alone in the center of the table, a sign of my mother’s simple decorating style. Although she had some good Swedish glass like Kosta Boda and Orrefors, my mother also had many things, as this bowl probably was, purchased at a five-and-ten.
When family dinners grew in number to include in-laws and grandkids, the bowl was moved to a sideboard to allow more room for serving dishes. But always, after dinner, the bowl was put back in place in the center of the table.
I remember the bowl in its central place on the dining room table when I returned home from college, a welcoming sight for me.
I remember it sitting there, too, when I brought my boyfriend, now husband, home to meet my parents.
I remember seeing it there when my kids played in the living room with my parents.
After my mother’s funeral, the bowl was probably moved to the sideboard to make room for the platters of food brought over by friends and neighbors. I’m sure, really sure, we put it back in its rightful place after we cleared the table.
Did I want this bowl, I asked myself as we emptied the house. At each visit to sort through more of my parents’ stuff, I pondered that. I had the luxury to think about it week after week.
Finally, I moved the bowl back to the “donate or give away” section. I didn’t want the bowl. But I was so grateful for the memories it had elicited.
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