Home > Keeping "it" for "good"

Keeping "it" for "good"

February 5th, 2012 at 07:21 pm

When I was growing up, my folks would often encourage me not to use certain things and keep them for "good."

As my mother aged, she admitted that wasn't always the best advice. She said she crocheted and embroidered a lot of things and wouldn't use them, but instead kept them for "good," which meant she was saving them for use on a special occasion. However, as these things aged, they started to go bad. A lot of the things she worked so hard on started to fall apart. All that work and anticipated pleasure for naught because she never had the joy of using them.

I didn't inherit a lot of things from my grandmother, but I did get a tablecloth that fit a card table and 4 napkins. They are linen and have a design cut out and embroidered around the design. For years I would take them out of the cedar lined chest, wash them, iron them, and put them back. Then it dawned on me, these were my grandmother's and I never saw her use them. My mom never used them. And since I don't have children, chances are they won't get used unless I do.

So, I pulled out the tablecloth and I have it on a small table in my sunroom. I like the tablecloth and enjoy seeing it.

As for the napkins, we use them. Not for special days either. I use a lot of cloth napkins and they are in the stack to be used. Whatever placemats or tablecloth they go with, they get used.

I ironed them last night and thought that I'm getting far more enjoyment out of using them, than having them stored away.

Years ago Erma Bomback who normally wrote humorous articles did write a serious one. I believe it was when she was diagnosed with a terminal disease. She pointed out that life was for living and it was OK to use those things. I remember her saying she didn't use a rose shaped candle because it was for a special time, but wound up in a box in the garage where it melted.

A few years ago I donated my "good" China to be given away to a family that could use it. I think I used it maybe two or three times. It wasn't the most expensive, but I remember buying into the notion that when one married, they should have two sets of dishes -- every day and the fancy stuff. And, I didn't want to use the fancy stuff in case I would break a piece or chip it.

My dishes are my dishes. Some are chipped. I've broken a few through the years, but I like the pattern and feel I'm making better use of these stuff I have if I use it, instead of saving it.

I ironed a tablecloth last night. I never used to use cloth tablecloths or napkins, thinking it should only be when we have company. Well, I've decided we are worth the trouble of having a pretty tablecloth and napkins.

There isn't too much I'm keeping for "good" anymore. We don't have fancy dinner parties. I'm not a gourmet cook or chef. If folks come to eat at my house, hopefully they come for the hospitality and not the fancy dishes or flatware or napkins.

Perhaps it is part of my mind set of being content and finding pleasure in what I have.

7 Responses to “Keeping "it" for "good"”

  1. creditcardfree Says:

    I took this advice early on in our marriage. We had such nice, but plain, china that was never used. As our first set of everyday dishes showed more wear, I decided to use the china for everyday. We still use it today. The cups are great for hot chocolate and tea. The saucers get used for small amounts of food. Yes, some are chipped and several plates and a couple bowls have shattered.

    We get the wonderful use of our china everyday during the busiest time of our marriage and of raising children. The girls have used plates for crackers and peanut butter sandwiches. Something I will treasure much more than if they were kept away in a cupboard for months at a time.

  2. Petunia 100 Says:

    My paternal grandmother used this expression! I never met her (she died before I was born) but I have heard relatives speak of her saying it. I have also heard the story that when she died, her daughter and daughters-in-law cleaned out her closet and found dozens of dresses with the tags still on them, which she was "keeping for good". The dresses went to the Salvation Army, never having been worn by her.

    Things are for using. If you don't use and enjoy your nice things, what good are they? No good at all.

  3. mamasita Says:

    My friend says "A house is for living in", Her furniture is beautiful, but what good is beautiful furniture if you can't enjoy your pets or your kids on them?! Her dog is allowed on the couch and the girls can have pillow fights Smile

  4. Thrifty Ray Says:

    I love that Erma Bombeck article. I have used it as a guide for those "special" things I am tempted not to use. I do have a few special keepsakes to pass on to the future generations, ...but everything else, I use and love. Candles are enjoyed, my furniture is not covered, etc. Most things are replaceable, memories not.

    I enjoyed this post today. Thank you!

  5. rob62521 Says:

    Thank you all for validating me today!

  6. ceejay74 Says:

    Agreed with everyone; this is a GREAT topic and I hope it convinces someone to use something beautiful that they've been saving. Smile

  7. Jerry Says:

    Great post... which leads me to admit that I am often guilty of this. For example, I have some neckties that I REALLY like, but I rarely wear them because I am either 1) afraid of ruining them (I have two small daughters who like to roughhouse and spill stuff), or 2) saving them for a big interview for medical residency. This is ridiculous. I need to use these things and get the pleasure out of having them, or there is no insurance that I will ever enjoy them at all. Thanks for the thoughtful post, and the Erma Bombeck reference. I used to sneak her books from my Mom's room when I was a teenage boy because I thought that they were so funny. Smile Jerry

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