Tablecloths: I’ve heard they tell stories.

20140506-073654.jpg. The entire eating at the “table” thing is so full of ritual and tradition.

Today, the master of ceremony for this discussion will be the tablecloth.

The tablecloth is not simply a cloth thrown over a slab of wood or metal. It is a covering, protective and decorative and sets a mood or season with its multiplicity of functions.

Lace or plain, cotton or wool, full of color and pattern or just plain white, this woven piece of threads sets a mood; a mood for the people who will gather round its girth for a meal or a snack or even wine and conversation.

In the photo, top shelf and bottom cloth: rose colored Apples on a cream background, it’s a durable cotton; this I like to use in the late summer when apples are on everyone’s mind. I think of trips to Cynthia’s farm and Mama’s apple strudel and Grama’s apple pizza! Harvest is in full swing and Autumn is in the air when this cloth is on the table!

Second cloth from the bottom; a faded aqua background with a rusty toile pattern. This cloth is versatile and always delightful; country French and makes me think of Grama Thibault and her mother, Celine Tetrault. Celine was a single mother (never found out what happened to Grama’s father) who owned a Millinery in Quebec. The story goes like this: whenever the day was going slow and sales were shabby, Celine would turn her statue of St. Joseph upside down until a sale was made! Tough French little lady for sure.

Third from the bottom; a navy and white stripe background with cherries bordering the hem; great for any summer event, patriotic and picnic-ish for sure. I think of Karen and Janet Szachta, old friends and neighbors from my childhood. They had a cherry tree and every year gave Mama a bucket full of cherries! Then Mama would make Danish pastry for all of us to share! What a treat!

Then one of my favorites is the green and white HERB tablecloth depicting fresh herbs used in so many good Italiano recipes; takes me back to old days and Tuscan vineyards. Reminds me of all my Aunts who made so many celebrations extra special with their delicious cooking skills!

Then there are the solid linen tablecloths in white and pastels; also good for any occasion. Lace trimmed tablecloths are for special days or special meals. Lace always adds a touch of the “sacred” to the table. The pink pastel cloth was given to me by my mother-in-law who used it on very special occasions. It was given to her by a cousin who worked as a “waiter” on a train. When the train closed its dining car the tablecloths were SHARED with the employees…at least that’s how the story goes. Now it is a treasure and I use it as a topper over a plain white cloth on Mother’s day.

The bottom shelf holds Fall coverings and Holiday cloths…need I say more. My favorite is the Christmas tablecloth Mama made for a Christmas eve many years ago. She appliquéd Christmas trees all around its border. Always a hit with the kids….and for everyone young at heart.

This morning I opened an old cupboard door (which is where I store my tablecloths) to put away Sunday’s washed and folded linens. Sauce stains and Jello spills and even wax drippings come out with washings and time. However, some things will never wash out of tablecloths. Memories will not fade in their color.
Greetings from old and dear, dear friends will always remain in their woven threads.

Grama Grama: a picture is worth a thousand words

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Great Grandma Frances (AKA Grama Grama) is 94 and a half. She was the guest of honor at little Great granddaughter Maria’s FIRST HOLY COMMUNION.
I think if I asked Maria “What was the most special gift you received on this big day?” Maria would surely reply, “Having Grama Grama at the celebration dinner table!”
“Oh”, Maria would probably soon add, “And drawing the winning HORSE in the Kids Kentucky Derby raffle!”

Baby Oak Leaves…

Oak leaves aren't babies for long...

In a few days, the little oak leaves on the trees in my yard will be fully “grown”.

Mother’s day in Spring…no better time to celebrate mothers and things that remind us of them like baby leaves on giant old Oak trees…

Mothers…giving…always there…servants…

Peter’s mother-in-law…Jesus cured her…immediately she waited on HIM.

With mothers, it’s always about others.

Thin veils divide the place where loved ones hide…the whole world is a stage…

Dinner at my home for my family on Mother’s Day. I am blest with having a beautiful 93 2/3 year old mother-in-law sitting at the head of our table.

After dinner and as a treat to all of her children, grandchildren and Great grandchildren, Grama Grama sang Elvis Presley’s ARE YOU LONESOME TONIGHT…(No such thing as a free lunch!)
Yes, our stage is missing a few major characters, my mother and father, my grandparents…my father-in-law…

Earlier in the day while I was preparing the potatoes, Grama Grama recited William Wordsworth’s DAFFODIL poem for my son Jimmy…Grama Grama memorized this verse in the fifth grade! Today daffodils in full bloom were her inspiration…her Great grandchildren were her inspiration I am sure, too…

AND THEN MY HEART WITH PLEASURE FILLS,
AND DANCES WITH THE DAFFODILS…

My heart with pleasure filled as Grama Grama smiled at all her blooming Daffodils…

Baby leaves will always remind me of Springtime and of our Mothers in whose hearts love songs will always play and where daffodils will bloom forever.

April 29th…Italian bread with sesame seeds…

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As I was sipping my morning coffee, Don Squirrellioni sat perched outside, high on a Oak tree broken branch stub. He goes there every morning and waits patiently for me to throw him yesterday’s bread leftovers…

There were no scraps from the grandkids PBJ, I thought sadly, and not one bite of crusts from the guys late nite snack time pizza! So, on days like this, I break up a couple slices of RUSSO Bakery Italiano Bread with Sesame seed! Yes, my little backyard critters are spoiled.

I tossed the rather large portions of bread pieces onto the lawn in the backyard…before I could say, “Buon appetito”, Don Squirrelioni snatched up his first chunk of bread and scurried back up the Oak tree with breakfast in his hand, and a smile on his face for sure!

Waiting for the day when I can catch his smile on camera…and drink a HOT cup of coffee!