For twelve years, most of my life prior to 1998 was in storage. When we first headed to Saudi Arabia together, then back to Germany for several years, then to the Gulf for several more, we had thought it would be just a few years . . . actually, we didn’t think of any time, we just never expected to pack almost everything we owned for that long.
As we were awaiting our shipment from storage, AdventureMan asked me what mattered most. In the greater scheme of things, what matters most isn’t coming out of storage. What matters most is the lives who have connected with mine over the many years.
But there are a couple things I wanted to see again.
First, when we married, we started saving for our first trip to Africa. We didn’t eat meat. We didn’t go to movies. We saved, and a little after we had been married for a year, we went to Kenya and Tanzania for a month, three weeks on safari and then a week on the beach at a marine reserve, where we could snorkle. During that time, we saved every penny, but out of his lunch money, AdventureMan saved enough to buy me this little candleabra, which I cherish. He bicycled to the shop to pay the $25 per month until it was paid for. It was a total surprise, one of the best surprises I have ever had in my life. I wanted to see it again:
Also during that first year, we were looking for wedding china. We had met and married. We hadn’t gone through a long process, just made a decision and followed through. It seemed so sensible to us at the time. Then we had lots of time to search for just the right china.
It took us forever. We would ‘kind of’ like one or two, but not enough to buy it. Then, one day at the Heidelberg Officer’s Club, we found it. We visited it again three months later, and found we liked it just as much, even more. We also had an income tax refund, so we made our first major purchase together, and, after all these years, we still love it:
It is simple, white, with a little encrustation, and – to us – still as beautiful as the day we bought it. It is made by Reynaud, an old porcelain manufacturer in Limoges, but they were bought out several years ago by Cerelene, and now this pattern, Cheverny, is no longer made. I am registered on several replacement sites, but not a single piece has appeared in all the years I have been registered. One year in Germany, just before we left, we bought four more plates and coffee cups, but the replacements are not the same. The china was thicker, not so refined as the original. And then they stopped making it altogether.
Every piece arrived intact. We have a couple chips – we’ve had the china around 36 years, so a broken piece here and there, a chip from time to time – it’s hard to avoid.
We also have an Ethiopian cross, and some very old cookbooks and etiquette books I have collected – I was happy to see them again, along with some French hunting ducks I found once in the Metz flea market. Old friends. By the grace of God, we have come through these 12 long years with only a few chips ourselves, nothing broken, and nothing of great importance missing.
I was oblivious. I didn’t even know what a magnolia tree looked like. But AdventureMan grew up in the South, and he has been pointing them out ever since we got here. We watched them as they formed their buds. And now – magnolias are blooming all over Pensacola!