Friday, February 27, 2009

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


I’m a bona fide commingler as of this weekend, and it feels great! In many cases the act of commingling is illegal—when brokers mix client monies with their own or when personal and business assets are pooled for illegal gain. The commingling I did was perfectly legal!

Late Friday night, in preparation for a luncheon I was hosting on Saturday, I pulled out my mother’s silver chest from under a bed. I opened it, and I was almost blinded by the dazzle of a century’s worth of sterling silver flatware.

When my mother married my daddy in 1941, she did what every self-respecting bride-to-be did: she chose a sterling silver pattern to go along with the china and crystal she had selected. My mother chose the same one that her mother had chosen years back. Between the two of them, they could feed lots of people. Following their footsteps, I chose the exact same pattern when I got married: Prelude by International.

Although I’ve used my sterling silver flatware over the years, I could never be considered a regular silver user. It took a lot more effort to unwrap the silvercloth bundles and pull out the utensils, piece by piece, than to open a drawer and pick up my everyday flatware. After using the sterling silver, I’d have to hand wash it and return each piece to its individual slot in the protective slivercloth.

I didn’t have enough of my own silver for Saturday’s luncheon. That’s when I opened my mother’s chest that I had recently picked up from my parent’s house in Brownwood. At first, I tried to keep my forks separated from my mother’s and my grandmother’s and to provide an imaginary dividing line between their spoons and mine. After a few minutes of fretting with this impossible task, I laid handfuls of silverware on my kitchen counter and gently stirred the pieces, as if I were folding egg whites into waffle batter. During the luncheon, no one knew, or cared, if they were eating with sterling silver given as gifts 35, 65 or 85 years ago. It all looked exactly the same, and it all brought delicious bites of food into waiting mouths.

This recent commingling has had a magical effect on me. While holding some of my grandmother’s special spoons that I hadn’t seen in 35 years, I recalled perfectly how Mary S would scoop up sugar cubes with them, or stir coffee in her Havilland china with other little silver spoons. The serving pieces I laid out on my table were the same ones that my grandmother had used to serve homemade coconut cake every year on my granddaddy’s Christmas birthday; I reveled in that after-Christmas-dinner tradition after my own luncheon guests had long gone.

The greatest joy for me, however, came from commingling my way-too-guarded silver pieces with those of two other lifetimes. The circle of life now seems sturdier and far richer than it did only a few days ago. Let the commingling of many other treasures begin!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

There's a new store in town!

Of course I said yes when a friend called today to ask if I wanted to check out the new South Austin Newflower Farmers Market. Before leaving home, I quickly scanned the Newflower newspaper flier along with the fliers from two other grocery stores. I wanted to be sure I would get a bargain if I bought anything.

The parking lot was full so we had to park in a nearby neighborhood. On the short trek to the new store, I imagined all the free samples of food and drink that would be offered to us. I wasn’t disappointed when I saw booths and tents lined up around the store. Alas, the offerings were very limited.

“There must be more freebies inside,” I muttered to myself. Wrong again. Oh, a slice of orange here, a chocolate-covered pretzel there. What self-respecting grocery store wouldn’t provide a feast for customers on opening day?

The pound of strawberries I bought for 88 cents was certainly worth the trip. I went ahead and bought a pineapple for 88 cents as well, even though it was more like the size of an artichoke instead of a respectable pineapple.

As a grocery store junkie, I’ve rarely met a grocery store I didn’t like. The verdict, however, on Newflower Farmers Market—which really isn’t a farmers market at all—is out. Way out.