Let’s Talk with Maggie Toussaint

Thanksgiving musings – silver and china?
By Maggie Toussaint


With Thanksgiving just around the corner, my thoughts veer to the trappings of the holiday. How many families are currently washing the china and polishing the silver? It wasn’t something I ever thought I’d do as an adult, but gumption folds fast in the face of a determined sister.

Oh, how I fought against choosing a china pattern before my wedding.

“No point in it,” I said to Carol. “I already have a set of dishes.”

My sister ignored my complaints and dragged me to the appropriate store. “I’ll never use it,” I said. “This is a complete waste of money.”

“You need this,” she said. “Hush up and pick out something you like.”

The year was 1977 and, like everything else in the world, social movements and coolness took their time getting to the deep South. As a free-spirited introvert, I studied the prices and the formal patterns and saw nothing I liked. I complained some more, but eventually I caved, sort of.

My pattern has a lime green rim, a circular band of wildflowers, and butterflies. Perfect for someone of the flower child generation. I selected silver-plate flatware reminiscent of my mother’s pattern. Nothing too fancy or formal for me.

For the first few years of marriage, we didn’t pull the “good stuff” out at all because we went to my parents or his for Thanksgivings and Christmases. Kids arrived and then we hosted family for special occasions. The good dishes came out and even the kids were awed.

Now we’re at the other end of the rain barrel. The kids have kids and we’re often on the road for holidays. My china sits in the cupboard, stacked at the ready.

So, why did I need this? I’ve been thinking about the why part more and more these days. Best I can figure out, it’s a legacy that can be passed on, though my girls may feel the same way about this china as they did about my wedding dress—No Thanks.

I tried on other rationales: did it make me feel good (yes); did I love the folks who gave it to me (of course); how many other wedding gifts do I still have (most of them!); how many of them do I still love or use (not many). Hmm.

As best I can figure, selecting china was one of the few things in life that I did without considering anyone else’s opinion. I picked something that pleased me and still does. Whenever I need a smile, I pull out one of those plates or bowls and trace the design. It’s so me. A little offbeat and quirky, exemplifying strength and delicacy in an enduring combination.

Deep, huh?

Like me, my new sleuth River Holloway is a blend of traditional and original. We’re both hard workers. River gives from her heart and hearth, and people respond to her with a smile. She’s good at collecting information because people tell her anything!

Do you think River should have china? Chime in for a chance to win any book in the Maggie Toussaint catalog. Print book winners must reside in the US. The winner will be announced on Nov. 21.

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