March 03, 2012

The China Cabinet – a collection of our memories

Many of us have moved through our lives with what was traditionally called the china cabinet, a catchall for treasures collected over a lifetime.    

According to Wikipedia, traditionally, this cupboard or cabinet was made of wood, used indoors to store household objects such as food, crockery, textiles, liquor and to protect them from dust, vermin and dirt. 

My china cabinet also known as the pine hutch, is a product of love and has a story.

My husband and I in our early years of marriage would spend our Sundays exploring the small communities and their architecture of Fergus, Mt. Forest and Shelburne, all towns outside of Toronto on what we called our “road trips”.  One Sunday afternoon we found by accident, a road which led us to a crafter’s studio and furniture designer.  That Sunday, we left Shelburne having designed our own cabinet which later became the first piece of real furniture we owned together. 

24 years later the cupboard is jammed with a collection of items we have accumulated over time.  Filled with treasures including the Christmas Turkey plates and platter, a number of unused glass serving plates, tea cups and saucers left from Aunt Jean and a Pewter tea service from my Grandma.  Also, dishes that were left over from parties (my friend was just reunited with one), half opened packages of napkins, cards, candles, tablecloths, numerous wine glasses, kids treasures and our good china.  Most of the stuff rarely used.

Our good china dishes and the silver serving pieces, gifts from our wedding, are like new despite residing there for almost 24 years. Having grown up in a traditional household, the good dishes were often saved for formal dinner parties and entertaining only.
Well, like in many homes I assume, the unused good china dishes are no indication to the celebrations and parties enjoyed by family and friends!  In fact, our pine hutch front panel once caught fire from a tea light during a roaring Christmas party. The scar still remains.  
I will just ignore that fact that the drawers are stuffed and hard to close, I almost cause a disaster every time I reach for one of those glass dishes and some of that dust has likely been there for the entire time. 

A couple of my favourite pieces found in that old pine hutch include the sticker from a girlfriend that says “It’s 5 o’clock somewhere” and my grandma’s old ashtray that says “Halitosis is better than no breath at all”.
Hey, why not open up your china cabinet to take a trip down memory lane and celebrate with dinner on your good dishes!