I looked through some tablecloths tonight, in keeping with last week's renewed commitment to creating a less cluttered life for ourselves.
These tablecloths are hand-me-downs from my grandmother. None are inherently valuable, except to me, I imagine. I look at them and I recall sitting at my grandparents' kitchen table when I was little and they still lived in the two-bedroom WWII-era house in town. I have an eternal picture of my grandmother in that bright, white, kitchen: pink bathrobe, hair in pink foam curlers, glass bottle of Coke in one hand, cigarette in the other.
They later moved to a rambling rancher they had built outside town, nestled in a deep, narrow valley along train tracks that followed a river, on a lot sheltered by a canopy of tall pines except for the sunny southern edge of the back yard, where they planted a garden. Grandma grew flowers -- allium and other things that looked exotic to me -- and grandpa grew vegetables and fruits, including raspberries.
On my last visit before they died, I awakened every morning to a small white bowl filled with freshly picked raspberries waiting for me on the kitchen counter. Grandpa had returned to his yard work or some such by the time I got to the kitchen for breakfast, but I appreciated his daily gifts so much. Even now, when I eat raspberries drizzled with heavy cream, it takes me back to sitting at their beat up, old, wooden table covered with one of the color-splashed cloths now in my stash.
The tablecloths have decades-old coffee stains and holes, but I love them for their colors: lime green and grey with pink blooms, grey with pink roses, and black Greek key borders twined through by lemon yellow-blossomed branches.
Reluctant to put the colors that bring happy memories into a yard sale, I messaged my niece to ask her what colors she favors and/or what colors she and my nephew are using in their new home. They are a delightful couple and I would be content to pass on some of the family items we have to give them things they can use, and give us a little more room to breathe.
And, for me, daily life is all about creating space to breathe. Sharing my grandmother's colorful life in the process would be a bonus.