I know there will be trouble. I don’t want the silver finger bowls. I want the gold Limoges plates. The gold paint will flake off with use. But they are exquisite and I will love them and use them and they will never see the inside of a dishwasher. I will always think of my Mema and her West Hollywood antique store when I serve cake on those plates. I would never use the finger bowls and Aunt Carolyn knows it. My mother is a housewife, so Aunt Carolyn thinks she’s useless. So she’s trying to give me something useless. I’m not a housewife, but I’m guilty and useless by association.
The antique auction company guy has arrived and everyone will soon head to the funeral home to make final arrangements. I have to hurry before the gold plates disappear.
“I’d rather have the plates,” I say. “I think I’d get more use out of them.”
Aunt Carolyn throws up her hands. “She sounds like a paying customer.”
My mother and my Aunt Alyce turn away and pretend to study the undersides of vases and soup tureens. I pack the plates in newspaper and put them in a plastic bag. Aunt Carolyn says she is out of boxes, but I know that isn’t true.
I use Mema’s Limoges plates whenever we entertain. The gold sparkles in the light and elevates the most mundane desserts. Every summer, I enjoy taking them to the Hollywood Bowl, wrapping them in layers of terrycloth towels for the treacherous trek up the Hollywood Hills. Several pre-concert picnickers always stop by to admire the elegant place settings, and wonder at the sight of someone who goes to so much trouble.
Jennifer Shneiderman is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker living in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in many publications, including: The Perch, The Rubbertop Review, and Flash Fiction Magazine.