Dishes and I have a history.
Okay, yes, I use them at meals.
But we regard each other with deep suspicion.
I’ve recounted one experience here.
But the one I’m about to describe is the first I can remember . . .
On the Stringam ranch, mealtimes were an exciting gustatory trip down the trail to deliciousness.
When the meal ended, the work began.
Well, for the rest of us. Mom had obviously already been at . . . never mind.
I was five.
The work, for me, consisted of transporting non-breakables from the table to the sink.
Yep. The spoons, butter knives and forks were my special friends.
Occasionally, I also branched out and dealt with such things as: napkins. Salt and pepper. Toothpicks.
My work load was exhausting.
Leftovers were carefully covered and stored in the ‘fridge.
Anything left on the plates was scraped into one container and taken out to the dogs, who then thought they had been sent to doggie heaven.
It was 1960. Doggie nutrition and diet hadn’t been invented yet.
Back to my story . . .
On this particular day, the scraps had been placed in my little brother’s ‘bunny’ bowl.
A cute little china bowl with a bunny scene in the bottom and bunnies running all around the outside.
The favourite choice of the under-five group.
Which, at that time, consisted of my brother.
Moving on . . .
Everyone was busy.
I had finished my all-important silverware shuffle and was at a loose end.
Then I saw it.
The bowl of dog scraps. Just sitting there, waiting for some grown-up person to transport it.
“Mom! I’m gonna take out the scraps!” I said, in my most authoritative voice.
“Mmm,” Mom said.
You have to understand that she was busy: effecting the organization of three other children, keeping a watch on the baby and talking to Dad.
“Yeah. I’m big enough!”
She said yes!
I grabbed the bowl and headed for the door.
Feeding the dogs on the ranch consisted of carrying the scraps across the cement driveway to the far copse of trees beside the old garage and tipping said scraps into the large, metal hubcap waiting there.
Now picture several dogs (who had appeared as soon as the door opened) leaping and jumping around like idiots.
I suddenly realized why the job of taking out the scraps usually fell to a . . . bigger person.
I didn’t even make it across the driveway.
Blair’s little bunny bowl was knocked from my hand, breaking in half on impact.
The dogs happily started in on the scraps (glass fragments hadn’t been invented, either) and I collected the two pieces and returned, in tears of defeat, to my Mom.
It would be some years before I was again trusted with anything breakable. (See above.)
And our little bunny bowl was gone forever.
P.S. There is a happy ending to this story.
During a recent trip to Costco with my son, I saw something that . . . . well, I‘ll just let you see for yourself.
Just keep them away from me!