What lasts after thirteen years of marriage? Does it undermine the beauty of the relationship to say that through it all, I stand in awe at the enduring quality of our bath towels?
They were a wedding present and made with some percentage of silk that doesn’t seem popular anymore. Maybe with 3-D printing and a cooperative silk worm I can make my own, but I suspect they just wouldn’t be the same.
There is something about those towels that represents the quality of a bygone era. I feel the same about the wooden basket we got when we were engaged so we could take picnics to Central Park and read books, printed on paper.
When I carry the basket now, people comment. It stands in contrast to the polyethylene ones with frustrating zippers that have taken over the snack and portable lunch scene.
Maybe it’s appropriate that the objects of our courtship and wedding were made of quality. There was the garlic press that didn’t make it to 6 months, but aside from that, I’m reminded of friends and family nearly every time I make dinner.
There’s the mixing bowl given to us by a dear friend and her husband from college.
The high quality stainless steel slotted spoon, a gift from long time family friends. Making pasta is filled with memories.
We’ve got a lot of formal bowls, too. They were trendy back in ’02. Crystal bowls, pottery bowls, hand blown bowls, and one with a turtle. I use the purple salad bowl every Thanksgiving and the one from a former boss anytime I need to serve nuts at a party.
Those may be salted peanuts, but the bowl is a work of art.
Our wedding china is another story. I take it out sometimes and just admire the smooth, cool surface. My husband selected the pattern and it’s modern and sophisticated, a 180 departure from the floral patterns I gravitate to that remind him of British tea or slow TV drama.
I don’t feel bad about keeping our china protected in the dark green boxes it came in. The carpe diem spirit that struck me on my 40th birthday, when we broke out the wine we’d saved from our honeymoon, doesn’t sit on my shoulder telling me to get to it and serve the kids hotdogs with an eight piece table setting.
The china is a reminder of the fragile and precious part of our marriage, and the intentions we had when everything was still ahead of us. And the material gifts from friends that have lasted in this disposable world we now seem to live in, remind me of the warmth and love that witnessed that special day.
Last night, on the eve of our anniversary, I saw a commercial that made me feel a larger gulf between that wedding day and the millennials heading off to the alter now. The bride and groom looked young and happy and had that ever-so-cool look I can’t quite identify. Then, hungry and exhausted from visiting with guests, they bid their farewells and slid into their limo, where the bride’s father has left some McDonald’s hamburgers for them to eat.
I turned to my husband, speechless, and he knew exactly what I was thinking.
And maybe that’s another reason why we’ve made it to thirteen years.