Friends and Dishes

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.


More pictures at my Flickr account here.

By Shirley Buxton

Still full of life and ready to be on the move, Shirley at 81 years old feels blessed to have lots of energy and to be full of optimism. She was married to Jerry for 64 years, and grieves yet at his death in August of 2019. They have 4 children, 13 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren...all beautiful and highly intelligent--of course. :)

2 replies on “Friends and Dishes”

Just had to share with you. My daughter, Amy, insisted on using my china for Thanksgiving. I was the one who said, “Oh, lets just use paper plates and enjoy more time together”. Guess we are having role reversal in this family. It is so enjoyable to set a pretty table though. I love to have fresh flowers. I am an absolute crystal nut. Merry Christmas to you and yours. Maybe we will see you all for Mom’s 90th birthday. Love to all.

Yes! I love you, Amy. You go! Love you too, Nita. We’ll definitely try to be there for the birthday celebration.


Beautiful Sentiments Sis. Buxton. I too love to set a nice table.
Although I carefully put my china in my dishwasher, using mild liquid palmolive dishwashing soap, as recommended by the Royal Dalton store.
I haven’t noticed any gold disappearing around the edge, but even if it does, I figured by that time I will be gone, and who cares. LOL. I will use it more often this way. Sad to say, but none of my offspring are inspired as I to such a fine collection. They are more prone to the modern designs, and simple and sterile countertops, no china hutches. :0)

Hi, Sandie. Thanks for being here and for commenting. I have washed some of my other china in the dishwasher, and like you, have not seen any change in the pattern. I also have washed silver there (with the exception of dinner knives, whose blades are “cemented” in, but recently I read silver should never be washed in the dishwasher….don’t know.) Anyway when I have time and am not rushed, I kind of enjoy hand washing it all. My sterling is in a buffet drawer that is easily accessible, and I use it frequently. They say the use of silver gives it a certain desirable patina.

You and Hubby come have dinner with Jerry and me! I’ll show you my pretty things….love you both.


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