Monday, January 9, 2012

Chipped Plate

My wife can make beauty from ashes. She takes delight in discarded picture frames sold for a dime in the local Goodwill. She collects old furniture and remakes it with gold spray paint. And she'll make a gloomy day of rain into an adventurous opportunity for puddle-jumping.

What I love about her clairvoyance is how contagious it is. My daughters imagination tends toward optimism; they learned from their mother.

The best example is our shrinking stock of dinnerware. Our mugs and plates and cutlery and glasses are in various stages of decomposition: bent and broken, smudged and stained, cracked and chipped. I am sometimes embarrassed to serve guests, so I break out the Dixie cups. My wife noted that our kids were following my poor lead. If Margot were served on the chipped plate, she would cry and reject her food. If Claire were given the fork with the bent prong, she would moan and eat with her hands.

One morning my wife turned the tables. Her eggs and toast landed on the chipped plate. She viewed breakfast with an irregular excitement. Hoisting her hands in the air, she pronounced, "Yes! I got the chipped plate!" Immediately, the chipped plate was a treasure.

My daughters still reject their food and eat with their hands, but they receive the chipped plate as a gift.

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