In Canada we celebrate Thanksgiving in mid-October. Except for the date, it’s like Thanksgiving in the US. There’s turkey, stuffing, and lots of pumpkin pie. We zhush the décor, iron the best tablecloth, and polish the silver because company’s coming.
In the matter of the silverware, I recently discovered five of my forks are missing. While the rational side of me realizes this issue pales in comparison to conflict in the Middle East or the upcoming US election, my inner four-year-old is quite upset. I bought this flatware in 2003, just after my daughter was born and have managed to hang onto 14 intact sets through six moves and untold chaos. And now, I’m down to nine forks.
The reality is, I’ve lost a lot over the years. I’ve lost a marriage, two houses, a community, and – although I’m working hard to reclaim it – I’ve kind of lost my faith in people.
It’s a lot, all of these losses, and to compensate, I’ve clung to my possessions. Perhaps too tightly at times.
I’ve hung onto chandeliers, antique china and my beloved Fortuny and Scalamandré cushions. I’ve hung onto my grandmother’s green, depression glass candlesticks and the banner that used to hang from the Museum of Modern Art in New York. I’ve hung onto my crystal, china, and flatware for 14 guests, anticipating a time when life would once again be calm enough for dinner parties. Many of these things have been tucked away in storage, and they provide me with tremendous comfort when I set them out.
My inner four-year-old had a full-fledged tantrum when I realized the pattern had been discontinued and the online replacement shops couldn’t even help. On eBay, I finally sourced a set for 12 with several missing pieces. Apparently, someone else lost a few forks along the way, too. I snapped up the set and, as luck would have it, it would arrive before Thanksgiving.
When the package came, I tore it open, only to discover it was the wrong set. The pattern was by the same manufacturer and was similar to mine, but close is no cigar. When I asked the vendor to process my refund, she apologized for her honest mistake and offered me a compromise. I could keep the set that complemented mine, have forks for my guests, and she’d refund half my money. I decided the similar set was better than nothing. Frankly, nobody else will notice.
Going forward, I will focus on what I’ve gained: a new partner, step-kids, new friends, a new home, a new life. But from time to time, I’ll still search for the missing flatware in hope of finding some of what I’ve lost.