Friday, October 14, 2005

Reading Edith Pearlman

is such a treat that I have to hold myself back or there'll be nothing left on my plate. (Fortunately, Edith's stories only get better with re-reading.) Savoring now: How to Fall, her newest collection, which Sarabande released this spring. Included is "Trifle," a story we ran in West Branch a couple of years ago. Please check out this marvelous fiction writer: she's at the top of her gift, and she totally deserves the prizes that are coming her way.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Fall of the Medici

At one this morning, we were jarred awake by a resounding shatter from downstairs. I was out of bed before Randy (for once) (he'd been sleeping with his headphones on). Even as we stumbled down to the kitchen, I groggily noted that he'd had time to pull some pants on (I was wearing only my glasses), and that he was urging me to "wait upstairs." [In situations of perceived danger, R's bear emerges protectively.]

Flipped on the blinding lights to see that it wasn't a window, but a teapot in smithereens, literally all over the kitchen floor. It had rested on top of the cupboards. I had moved it a wee bit closer to the edge the other night, to make more room for Allie (cat), who has gotten into the habit of leaping from floor to counter to fridge and then into a smallish empty spot at the end of the cupboards, where she perches like a ginger gargoyle to supervise our cooking and dishwashing.

So: top of cabinet + impact at counter = stupendous spray of fine white bone china shards. I found Allie hiding in the living room and made sure she was unharmed. Randy sent me back up to bed (I have an early start this morning and won't be home from Penn State until pretty late tonight).

It's not like the teapot was functional. It had a hairline crack, which I noticed one day in Houston when it started to leak delicately on the countertop. I had visions of it exploding all over me (or worse, over me and the dog or cat) immediately after being filled with boiling water. I set it in the back of the cupboard, packed it up with our other must-haves when we left Houston, and have carted it from apartment to apartment since. I even considered sticking a plant in it, but the image of a fern growing out of a fancy Wedgwood teapot seemed way too fey, as if it might open a door to the influx of tatted doilies and fuzzy toilet seat covers.

But I couldn't throw it away. I'm not even sure what it's come to represent (though after ten years you'd think I'd have a keener perspective). This was David's china, an elegant pattern--"Medici"--with a small blue and gold shell design around the rim. He picked the pattern, though we bought it together, and in fact we even registered at a big department store in downtown Houston (this was the mid-eighties and the clerk was flummoxed at the suggestion; I think my name was entered in the "bride's" column). But the truth is that I'm just not a Wedgwood sort of fag, and I never will be. After David died, and once I was able to realize that hoarding a Wedgwood setting for eight* was ridiculous, I sold it all on eBay.

And now the last of it is gone.

* more on my hoarding tendencies some other time