being moved
{reverb11 – day 19}


Being moved.
Tell us about a time this year that you were moved by the generosity of another.



This is a story I wrote earlier this year over at Vision & Verb.
When I read this prompt, this immediately came to mind:

hand me downs

Last week, I went to make pickles with my mom and my 85-year-old friend, Katie. It was a good day, we prepared the cucumbers and after we had put them on ice, we had three hours to spend together chatting and eating pie and catching up.

We talked of things that need fixing, people who are ill, people Katie’s age who are getting remarried, neighbors and neighborhoods that have changed, children and grandchildren and times that no one can keep up with. We talked of life.

At one point, Katie brought up the fact that she is trying to clear things out of her house, to prepare for the future that none of us wants to think or talk about.

Gradually, she has begun to give things away, clean up, hoe out, pare down. She is 85 and still lives on her own in the house she and her husband lived in, despite the fact that she is on crutches and, if her doctor could get his way, she would be in a wheelchair. But she’s a fighter, and refuses to give in to that, refuses to move into any sort of senior living facility, refuses to give up her independence.

From what I can tell, she lives in constant pain, one of her hips is basically deteriorating, bit by bit. And so, with the help of family and friends that love her, she gets by on her own. I have to say, I admire her tenacity.

As we sat there, chatting, she told us the story of how she wanted to pass her “good” china on to her daughter-in-law, and how this offer was promptly refused because the dishes, being antique porcelain rimmed with gold, have to be washed by hand. Imagine that! She had then tried to offer them to her granddaughters with the same reply.

We continued on with our conversation, catching up on all the news as the afternoon rolled by.

When it came time to move onto the next step, the mixing of the brine, we got up to gather the ingredients. While we were standing at the counter Katie opened a cupboard door and said, “See, there they are. What am I going to do with all these dishes?”

I looked at her and I said, “Well, I don’t have a dishwasher…”

And she started to cry, saying that she had wanted to offer them to me, but she didn’t know if I would want them, either.

After assuring her that I would love them, would in fact, cherish them, we gathered up boxes and newspaper and began packing them up, a twelve-piece place setting of antique gold-rimmed dishes that I have no idea where to store, but will most definitely love with all my heart.

I have a feeling that each time I use them and have to stand at the sink carefully washing each one by hand, I will have fond memories of a feisty little five-foot-tall woman to put a giant smile on my face.

And that washing these beautiful dishes will always remind me to take very special care of the ones I love.



{reverb11} check it out here

5 Responses to “being moved
{reverb11 – day 19}

  • Daryl Says:

    wonderful story .. and I hope you use those dishes vs saving them for special occasions .. after my mom passed and I packed up her things I took the fancy dishes she had in the breakfront and I have been using them every day since .. no breakfront here to display them in and besides that life is too short to save things for special occasions .. every day should be a special occasion!

  • Meredith Says:

    I agree with you. I would love them, cherish them, and gladly wash them by hand. Sure, I wouldn’t use them everyday, but I would feel grateful to share the stories while serving meals on those dishes.

  • angelica Says:

    loved, loved , loved your post. it so reminded me of my grandma. I wrote about her here

    when I thought we were losing her. She had long been talking about giving her stuff away to be ready, but when a 2 day heart attack hit she decided she was having none of it. She lives in a home and is now in a wheelchair, but that still hasn’t broken her (and is by the way still completely alive)

    she’s sent us some gifts. for me and for my children to keep. we will cherish them always.

    (beautiful china by the way)

  • Pat Byers (Tilda) Says:

    i loved this when you wrote it earlier. i love it now.

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