Sunday, November 27, 2011

Taking Time to Dream

by Jeffe Kennedy

This was my grandmother's tablecloth. I brought it in my suitcase, because my mom wanted to do an all-white table and she asked if I had one big enough. Because I'm the one who goes through the things left behind by the grandmothers and the maiden aunts, I had a stack. I measured six of them and we settled on this one, along with the twelve matching napkins.

I didn't bother to clean it up before I stuffed it in my suitcase - not much point of that with Irish linen.

Besides, I usually cheat with tablecloths. I came up with this trick a while back, where I throw the tablecloth on the table, spritz it with a spray bottle and let the wrinkles settle out. Some plates and low lighting and good enough!

I knew this would not fly with my mother, however.

So, she put the cloth and napkins in the washer on Wednesday evening and in the morning, I ironed them dry.

It took quite a while, too.

Not something I really ever spend my time doing.

But, as I pressed each napkin, front and back, then folded them into halves and then quarters, creating the fine creases, I found that I enjoyed that time. There's something to be said for rituals like this, the things that take time and patience. It gave me the space to day dream a little, to think about my grandmothers and the ending to Middle Princess.

I love how the holiday rituals require that from us and gift us in return.


  1. Your mother would have had a fit at our house, lol. We didn't even spritz the tablecloth - just put it on there, wrinkles and all. The Viking said, "we're not Good Housekeeping up here. Good enough."

  2. I too have the collection of white linens passed down by previous generations. However, I'm not brave enough to let them see the light of day.
    Random acts of gracelessness involving food and wine have driven me to the dark or the patterned cloths.

  3. Nice thoughts about the family rituals. I have a tatted Irish lace tablecloth from my grandmother (if that's the right terminology), which she made for a table that seated twelve and we're afraid to use it - so fragile!

  4. Wow. Very pretty table. Ironing used to be one of the places I got story break throughs. When I'd get stuck, I'd go iron the hubby's work shirts. Thank the GODS for shirts that no longer need it's the morning walk and the afternoon vacuuming and sometimes the dishes that bring the ah has.

  5. Oh, how I hate to iron. Sadly, some of my best book ideas come during those rare times when I can't avoid it -- maybe because my mind is trying extra hard not to think about what I'm doing. *grin*

  6. It was worth it, Kerry!

    Oh, but the all-white was SO pretty, KAK.

    I know what you mean, Veronica - but then what do you do with it?

    Thanks, Marcella. We love the Ah-has.

    I almost never do it, Linda, so this was a major deviation for me.

  7. What a lovely table. So pretty. It looks like it was definitely worth the time ironing. I don't mind ironing, I just don't have any reason to do it. Once a year, maybe, for the office Christmas party - when hubs wants to wear a suit. Other than that, meh. His work is casual and mine is uber-casual. LOL

  8. I think once a year is PERFECT timing, B.E.! A schedule I can totally get behind.