I was twelve when she left us and went to Heaven, and I am just not sure how much of it she showed me before my mother died. I know my sweet stepmother, Betty Sue, taught me lots concerning the subject, though, and because it interests me I have read widely and watched other people, and now at this fine old age of mine, I’m quite sure I know how to properly set a table. I enjoy doing it, am attracted to beautiful dishes, napkins, and tablecloths–that sort of thing. Our family is so large and there are so many small children that when they’re all here, I rarely use my finest china and crystal for it must be hand-washed, the silver counted–all that–so we use one of my other sets of dishes, nevertheless, always setting the table nicely, nearly always using cloth napkins, napkin rings, place mats, sometimes chargers etc. When my children were small, I taught all of them how to properly set a table, and have helped with this kind of training with some of my grandchildren. Sometimes I’ll put one of them in charge of the table decorations, letting them prowl about in the cupboards where are figurines, candles and the like, giving them a little guidance, but letting them make the final decisions. There have been some sights, I assure you.
Sometimes, an occasion arises when it seems appropriate to use my finest things. Friday was such a time when our dear friends Larry and Pam Baker came up to Crestline to have dinner with us. From a high cupboard, I took down my Lenox china that Jerry bought for our 25th wedding anniversary, and from another cupboard my crystal stemware and goblets. I shinned up the silver flatware, and spent a long time selecting the table cloth, napkins, chargers, and napkins rings. I love doing this, and while I cooked the food and spent time polishing the crystal and laying the dishes, I thought of my friends who would be eating with us. I considered how precious they are, and how deserving of the best I could offer them.
Not all was formal, though, for these snowmen salt and pepper shakers fairly cried to be allowed at the table. How could I resist such little creatures?
From my viewpoint, it was a wonderful evening. We ate simple food, ending with apple pie made from apples Jerry and I had picked from our tree in the back. We drank coffee and laughed and talked of fishing and retirement and life and the Work of God; we spoke at length of both trivial and serious subjects. Seated on stools at the bar in the kitchen, Pam and I spoke of God and our families and softly cried together. Just before this fine couple left, in our living room, before the warm fire, we four prayed, asking God for His direction and for His help in our lives.