Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Use the Good Stuff

Dallas, Texas 

I broke one of my Norataki china dinner plates this week. My mother would be aghast if I told her.  It was a freak accident, it was on the counter and I put a pair of spring tongs down next to it, the lock on the tongs slipped, the tongs expanded and knocked the plate off on the floor. It is an old pattern, long out of production I am sure.  It is part of a set I bought at an estate auction about 10 years ago. It is a nice set, including several serving pieces.  My guess is new it cost well over $1,000.  It had been the proud possession of a local retired school teacher, whose kids called in an auction company to dispose of what they didn't want. At the auction I looked in the box, the top three plates had been unwrapped, undoubtedly used for a special occasion - Thanksgiving dinner I imagine - then carefully re-wrapped.  The rest of the set was still in the original factory wrapping, with seals on the paper from the factory or the store that sold it new.  As I recall, I paid less than $30 for the entire set.  

When I set up house in DC, I pulled the good stuff out and said, it is time to use it. The good stuff became the everyday stuff.  Why not use it and enjoy it?  It is pleasant to look at, an example of high quality workmanship, and when I am dead and the auctioneers come in what will it sell for?  Pennies on the dollar of what it originally cost.  

I woke up today, still alive, able to get out of bed on my own. Any day you can do that is a special occasion. You are a special person who should enjoy the best you have to offer. Enjoy it, use the good stuff.  You can't take it with you, we kid my father that he spent years looking for hearse with a luggage rack and they don't exist (they do in some European countries where they pile the flowers on the roof of the hearse to take them to the cemetery -  Mom and Dad went to Europe once, he is not going back for a funeral.)  And who knows if anyone will value the good stuff when you are gone, or toss it to the fate of the auctioneers.    


  1. my grandmother had a set of noritake china, used only for "special occasion" meals. my sister has the set now.

    yep, you can't take it with you, so USE IT!

  2. David,
    My Mother had "good china" that my brother Isaac brought back from his Army tour in Germany. She saved it for "special occasions." Never used it. I have no idea where that expensive, gold plated china set (for twelve by the way, what was my brother thinking?) is now. I have a nice china set my first boyfriend gave to me back in 1963. I met Bill in 1964 and have been with him ever since. He refuses to let me use that set because it reminds him of Jim, the First boyfriend. And there the china sets in my cabinets, to be disposed of for pennies on the dollar when I depart.
    Nice post.

  3. We sold my parents' "good silver" for little more than silver weight. The china was split up, mostly as mementos. So yeah, you got it!

    I have no "good china". I have a set of tableware from L.L. Bean my parents gave me over time, it is a complete 8 placeset. I also have Reed & Barton stainless flatware. Elegant but easy to care for. Some glassware, a lot of plastic cups, and I am good to go!

    Peace <3