It was called a Lazy Susan and for the 20-plus years it sat atop my mother’s dining room table, it lived up to its name. In theory, it was a handy gizmo designed to give families and guests easy access to food. In practice, it was a stationary centerpiece whose sole purpose was to hold fake fruit that no one was allowed to touch.
The Lazy Susan was only one of a handful of items around the house that seemed to lack identity and purpose. We had a spice rack that sat empty above the cooktop (and ironically below the place where Mom kept the spices.) We had chairs no one sat on; appliances that were inconvenient to operate and towels that my mother insisted were “too pretty to use.”
When my mother passed in 2008, I became the owner of these items…none of which had any sentimental value to me. I kept the towels. After all they were in better shape than the ones I had at home (and this explains why I dry dishes with Frosty the Snowman towel in July) but everything else was set aside for the estate sale. It wasn’t personal. I just believe that family heirlooms should be something that has an interesting backstory, has monetary value, or is inextricably linked to one’s childhood. Not something that did nothing but collect dust for three decades.
So you can imagine my surprise as I watched folks come by and purchase these fun (if not overly functional) items. I was pleased that this lot of miscellaneous would have a second chance to make memories with a family in a home that would appreciate them.
“Look at this vanity chair,” a friend of my son’s called out. “It’s practically new!”
Well of course it was new. No one was allowed to sit on it. Mom said it was too fragile and for the life of me, I never understood why we had it in the first place. Our bathroom only held one person comfortably, so it wasn’t like we were holding monthly meetings in there and needed additional seating. I shook my head at her enthusiasm but said nothing until she spotted the Lazy Suzan sitting on a table, lifted it like Kunte Kinte and proclaimed it the coolest thing she’d ever seen.
“You’re kidding right?” I asked.
“No! This is awesome! I’ll use it when I have parties and game nights. It will be the perfect thing for chips and dip and other finger foods!” She seemed genuinely thrilled with the vintage find and I didn’t have the heart to tell her that it really didn’t have much experience in practical application. I wrapped up the colorful wedge shaped dishes and wooden pedestal in a paper bag and hoped that it didn’t fall apart under the pressure of having to perform.
“Just do me one favor,” I requested as I handed it over. “Give it a good, hard spin for me and never, EVER fill it with fake fruit.”
“You got it,” she promised with a grin.