At last, winter has dumped its trademark on our Northern land. The world around our country condo and quiet park is heaped in the quiet beauty of winter. Our little patio is heaped. I love the charming top hats on the bird feeder and saxophone-playing frog—leaning against the feeder as if he were a bit inebriated. Against the patio door you will see a five dollar poinsettia plant (fake of course) wearing a dusting of snow. Soon the Christmas plant will be replaced by other fake blooms, until next December.
Now our local ski trials are being groomed for the cross country crowd. ”Downhillers” who long ago exhausted the limited thrills of Midwest runs will throng into airports and board for the high country. I no longer ski, and I never was intrepid in the high country, although the Colorado Rockies are like a second home and I love to experience their beauty in any season. While the rest of my family skiied in Colorado, my favorite sport was just sitting outside the lodge in that glorious Western sun and clear, dry air—while savoring a natural Rocky Mountain High. But there is another winter sport that, in my mind, beats all: the ceremonial indoor change to spring.
Here is how it goes around the year. Late every August I stash my Russel Wright IROQUOIS® dishes, Vaseline Glass pieces, and lemon yellow Depression Glass in a cupboard so that we can adorn our dining table and buffet with Carnival Glass pitchers and bowls, and a harvest-motif set of English china decorated with baskets of luscious autumn produce. In mid-November, the harvest dishes yield to English Transferware in red and white—paired with ruby red Depression Glass. Sometimes the red dominance remains in view until after Valentine’s Day, but not this year. As of today, our village of Nashotah boasts 18 minutes more daylight than we had at the winter solstice. I’m feeling those minutes. Extra daylight, winter sun on fresh powder, and the joie de vivre have catapulted me into the new year in celebration of the sparkling season on hand and anticipation of glorious days ahead.
So last evening at dusk we made a seasonal change from red transferware and ruby red Depression Glass—to toothpick holders* and other accent pieces of Vaseline Glass, our lemon yellow Depression Glass sugar and creamer, and (once again) the Russel Wright IROQUOIS® Casual China in soft hues of yellow, green, blue, and pink. Included in the dining table setting (pictured below), is the Prince Albert MOONLIGHT ROSES® teapot which Joe and I brought home from Cornwall in 1993. A MOONLIGHT ROSES® cup and saucer accompany the teapot.
The cliché “What goes around comes around” certainly fits! Joe and I woke up this morning to sparkling snow outside, and a breath of springtime within—thanks to my passion for, and perennial delight in, seasonal ceremonies.
Margaret L. Been, ©2012
Note: My parents gave me their gorgeous collection of toothpick holders, many of which are very old. For years at other homes, we kept the entire collection on glass shelves in large windows. Now I simply rotate these treasures around the seasons, color-coordinating the glassware with the time of year.
I often reflect on the toothpick holders. Within my memory are many years before TV, cell phones, and Daytimer agenda books—when folks had time to sit around the dining room table, picking their teeth to remove those shreds of leg of lamb or pork tenderloin.
Along with fostering a leisurely quality of life, toothpick holders and toothpicks were probably a substitute for flossing. Certainly a Vaseline Glass toothpick holder and toothpick afford a lot more ambience than could ever be found in that yucky floss which dentists and hygienists badger (no, order!) their patients to use!
As I enjoy the toothpick holders and all the other lovely old glass collections in our home, it is also fun to reflect on how American glass manufacturers produced such exquisite wares during the heyday of art glass—due to special sands and soils in places like Ohio and West Virginia, and the amazing skills of the glass-artisans who immigrated from Eastern Europe. We have a special cultural history, here in the USA! MB