Many years ago, about 28 or so, my then husband Marv and
our family went to my parent's for Thanksgiving.
The kids lucked out to be able to sit at the kids table. They
didn't think so at the time, just as I didn't think so, many years in the
past. But believe me, it was better at the kids table.
When we sat down, I saw the table of many past Thanksgivings.
Marv was horrified at what he saw. See he was a good old boy from
Minnesota and he was a fork, knife and spoon type of a man.
What he saw, puzzled him and scared him, he looked at me for
guidance. I told him follow me, but the scheme of things is to go
from the outside in with the utensils. And what ever you do, DON'T
EAT OFF THE PLATE..
See,what he saw was a skinny short fork, a normal fork, and a small fork.
Then on the other side of a big plate, was a knife, a teaspoon and a big spoon.
In front of that was a small plate with a tad square of butter, a little tiny bowl,
with a tiny spoon in it (it was salt) and a water glass.
He looked at me with question on his mind, when I repeated..DON'T EAT OFF
Mom showed up with shrimp cocktail in a little bowl which she sat on the PLATE.
I picked up the small skinny fork, and Marv follow thru. That is a cocktail fork, I told
Then Mom removed that when we were finished, to be replaced with a small bowl of
French Onion Soup, that was placed on the PLATE. I picked up the large spoon.
Soup spoon I told him, he nodded.
When we finished the soup, it was removed and replaced with a normal plate.
Mom put on the serving bowls of turnips, squash, mash potatoes, gravy bowls,
dishes with sweet pickles and dill pickles. Also black olives and green stuffed
olives and pickled tiny onions. Bowls of cranberries and bowls of jelly cranberries.
Off to the side was a small table, which Dad was cutting the turkey.
We would in turn hand him our normal plate and he would put what you wanted
on it for meal. Then it was returned to have us,to rotate to bowls with vegetables around
the table until everyone had some of each. As well as the pickles and etc. and the
buns that were placed on the table. Use the big fork, I told Marv, he nodded.
And then we ate. Conversation would flow, and laughter.
After we were done with the main meal, the plates and bowls were removed. To be
replaced by 3 to 4 pies, And small plates put on the PLATE. And then I took the
last fork, and explain, dessert fork. Marv nodded.
After we got done and started to leave the table, Marv asked... what is with the
PLATE? I told him it was called a serving plate and that is what everything is
put on as he could see. I told him, other than that, don't ask, as I don't know.. It
has just been that way all thru the years. It was the subject of many conversations
later in years for Marv.
The men would go in and watch television (usually football) and my mother would put
away all of the food. And go in with the adults. I.... on the other hand...no matter what
age, did the dishes. And the only dish washer my mother had was me....
Then in about 1955, God sent an angel to our house for Thanksgiving. She came as a
guest of a good friend of our family who later married this angel. The angel's name is
Josephine. She came into the kitchen and said, "you dry as you know where to put all
of the dishes and pans." I told her quietly (I was 15) that she was suppose to be in the
living room with the adults. She said, "Oh, no, I am staying until the last pan is done,
so get over, get your dish towel, and let's get started". Ah, yes, Angel Josephine, each
year helped me until I left home, and then she helped mom.
So HAPPY THANKSGIVING, ANGEL JOSEPHINE... may you enjoy the dinner with
friends... and not have to do the dishes.