Mama’s Cruet

slice of lifeEveryone seems to separate the world into two categories.  The problem is the sometimes I’m just not comfortable in either one.  Saturday I broke Mama’s Cruet, well, it wasn’t my mama’s cruet, but I’ll get to that.

The two categories to consider today are those who will use those things they love everyday and enjoy them and those who will keep them in a safe and secure place so that nothing happens to them.

My grandmother was definitely the latter.  If you gave her something she really liked, she would put it away and keep it.  But she wouldn’t use it.

My best friend lived in the other category and I admire it but I just am not sure I can fight genetics and not follow in my Grandmother’s path.  Lisa and her family would come to visit on Christmas night.  She was always dressed in a new outfit from her socks to her earrings showing off the best selection of her Christmas presents.  My presents were always kept, nicely displayed in the box back under the tree until the tree went down on New Year’s Day and the new clothes were put away to be used, later.  I can’t really tell you when later is, so please do not ask.

My grandmother’s half-sister, Lizzie, loved to go to garage sales.  For a number of years while I was growing up I remember her on a quest to find a stopper for Mama’s cruet.  This clear glass jar used for oil or vinegar that may or may not have actually belonged to their mother.  The stopper was lost or broken  so Grandma couldn’t use it.  She kept it safe, in the china cabinet.  Aunt Lizzie (great aunt is just too long and formal) was ten years older than my grandmother.  My great-grandmother died when my grandmother was eight and Aunt Lizzie was 18.  There were nine children total, and Grandma was the only girl at home to take care of the younger brothers.  So, this glass jar was the only thing they had of their mother’s.

For years Aunt Lizzie would find a top to a cruet at a rummage sale and give it to Grandma who would say it was too fancy, too tall, too plain, too thin, too wide, too something.  She must have finally given in, because when I inherited the cruet it had a top.  A top with a plastic stopper so this is not the original 1920’s stopper.

I had just finished making dinner Saturday night when I turned around and knocked the cruet, filled will flavored olive oil, on to the tile floor where it broke in many many pieces.  Thankfully only one piece has found my bare foot so far and I think I have mitigated the oil slick I created, but Mama’s Cruet is gone forever.  If I had just put it away…if I hadn’t put the basil olive oil in it…if I were more careful.  So, hopefully writing the story will atone for breaking the cruet and I can still remember the wonderful times with Grandma and Aunt Lizzie, even when I was dragged to rummage sales as a kid and maybe I shouldn’t regret using the cruet since that is why it was made.

4 thoughts on “Mama’s Cruet”

  1. I always thought a thing put away was just as “wasted” as if I had broken it through use. Maybe that helps with the genetics; maybe it doesn’t.

  2. I think Mama would be happy that you were using her cruet to cook. You had a fond memory each time you used the oil. Glad you didn’t get hurt!

  3. Oh, I can imagine the pain– of breaking something so precious to your family and the feeling that you were only using it for what it was made for–such a fine line to write. I love the images of the cruet and connecting the ideas to my own precious family things.

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