Long ago and faraway, two silver knives from a thrift store brought a new idea into my life.
Every time I hold them I marvel at the skill of the person who stamped and honed them. Their weight and their balance in the hand, their steadiness at rest on the table or on the side of a plate, their sharp, but unthreatening blades, they are pleasures made possible by other people – the maker (or makers) and the prior owners, among others.
As soon as those knives were at home with me, my ideas about what brings hope and meaning to life grew stronger.
The knives were clearly meant to serve, and I wanted to be part of the program. So I started to serve biscuits and jam to one friend at a time.
On Saturday mornings I'd make cream biscuits before dawn and let them chill in the refrigerator. I'd go to San Francisco's Ferry Terminal Farmer's Market to find fruit and jam (June Taylor's!) and other things tended and crafted by the early-morning vendors.
An hour or two ('cause some folk are late sleepers) after I returned home, I'd welcome some good person over the threshold and into the kitchen. Warm biscuits, small plates, a special jam, butter, and honey were there for them. And the knives.
The friends who came for tea and talk and eating—their willingness to climb more than a few flights & their grace at a small table—showed me that gathering together and kindness can keep a person's spirit intact and help it expand.
Those friends and those Saturdays taught me something that I still think is important about a human landscape: It's shaped by little things that make us glad.
- G.E. Patterson
More friends to grace a small table right this way.