Giving ThAnks

Today, Thanksgiving morning, as I set my table for dinner guests, I knew I had to pause for an hour and write a blog post.

We've had many life events since my last post. I got "blogged" down because I wanted to write about all of them. But it was all too overwhelming. I finally told myself that I can't go back. I just need to start where I am.

So this sweet story brought me back to blogging....

When we were one-year married, Scott had to serve for two years in the Army. He worked hard to get assigned to Europe - specifically Germany. He had finished medical school and his internship, so he went as a physician and was lucky enough to get a job as a "flight surgeon" (a doctor who took care of pilots) on an army base near Frankfurt. We arrived in Germany in September - a beautiful time of year. I remember seeing apple orchards and abundant gardens as we drove, enchanted, through the quaint towns and pretty countryside that would be our home.

What I most remember, what I JUST LOVED, was the shopping (not surprising). And what I loved about the shops was the housewares. This was the mid seventies. I had just set up my whole kitchen with harvest gold pyrex and brown/green/gold stoneware dishes. And now I walked into these German stores and see these colors I loved times a thousand choices. The patterns, variety, colors were wonderful, I could spend hours wandering through small shops and large department stores.

And then I found Villeroy & Boch china. It was exquisite German porcelain - the most beautiful china I had ever seen. I loved china, but when I got married, the popular style for china dishes was white with a silver rim. Very plain but elegant. Now I was seeing china in colors and designs that changed me for the rest of my life. The Summer Day pattern was my favorite. It blended the pretty flowers and design I loved with the harvest colors that were popular. I decided that I would begin to collect that china - starting with eight plates for myself for Christmas. Through the next two years I added eight salad plates, eight soup bowls, and a platter. I came home from Europe with a treasure.

Fast forward nearly 40 years to my birthday in June. My friend, Bonnie, called to wish me a happy day and said she had a gift that she'd bring soon. When she came, I had the shock of my life. There, in several boxes, wrapped in tissue and bubble wrap were many, many pieces of my Summer Day china. WHAT??? You don't even see these dishes anymore. The pattern is discontinued and forgotten. And the pieces. A gorgeous tea pot with tea cups. A delicate cream and sugar set. Salad plates and a pretty bowl. Salt shaker and tiny serving cup. Where did these come from? How did she remember that this was my china?

My favorite - a little cream pitcher that goes straight to my heart!

The story goes like this. Bonnie has a cousin, a guy, who bought an older home. One summer evening, Bonnie and family went to visit the cousin at the new/old house. He told them about how the house had been filled with junk - lots of stuff to get rid of. He was cleaning out some of the cupboards in the garage and found these old dishes on a shelf. He asked Bonnie if she'd like the old dishes and other old things, knowing that she loves and collects antiques. If not, they were on the way to the dump. Bonnie looked at the boxes saw that the china was very special, and said, casually that, of course, that she'd be happy to take them off his hands. 

Fast forward a few months to our Sew and Sews (sewing club) tea party. Bonnie was in charge and did it up in style. She brought her massive collection of tea pots and tea cups to decorate and use for refreshments. It was an amazing scene - vintage tea pots and linens and vases of flowers everywhere. One of her teapots was surprising to me because it was my Summer Day pattern. I told her excitedly that I had the same dishes. She tucked that information in her mind for later in the summer...then the birthday surprise for me. 

Bonnie could have kept the china or given it to her daughters. She could have sold it on e-bay for a tidy sum. She should have done one of those things. I'm overwhelmed that she gave the many pieces to me...and they complete my set. Except for the salad plates, they are pieces that I don't have. And they are pieces that I absolutely love! They're beautiful. I'm grateful. My china cabinet looks amazing! 

As we sit to eat our Thanksgiving dinner today and use my and Bonnie's lovely china, I express gratitude to my special friend. This gift is just a symbol of her character and generosity. As I make my "thankful list," she'll be at the top. Thanks, Bonnie!