In a Sow’s Ear 11-22-10
Thanksgiving: That most enjoyable holiday in the yearly lexicon of days when the banks are closed, but the restaurants are not. Delicious odors of roasting turkeys, hams and yams emanate from households. Dining room tables wear cloth covers. Cloth napkins frame place settings of fine china and gleaming flatware. Water goblets (sometimes crystal) stand like soldiers on guard. And, like a royal personage beaming kindly on the court, fine-art centerpieces grace the middles of tables.
I know all this because I read a how-to Martha Stewart essay. She advised that I go to a “craft store” and purchase a cornucopia basket, fill it with real fruits and gourds and park it on the table. Unfortunately, to find a craft store, I’d have to drive 80 miles to the city so I made do with a straw bowl I kept from last Easter when the grandkids went egg hunting. It still had one hard-boiled egg in it. Since the hen fruit was dyed a bright lime green, I left it there and added a couple of croquet balls and a cue ball from a pool table (found one day in the gutter opposite the Dirty Shame Saloon).
Martha said candles should march alongside the cornucopia to “illuminate” it. The candles should be different sizes and should match the napkin color, but I don’t have any red-plaid candles. In fact, the only tapers I currently own is a half-full box of birthday candles that I’ve had for at least 15 years and a couple of seriously melted plain big fat ones from when the power went out last winter. Martha said to arrange the candles on a mirror to create a “candle forest.” I think she meant put a mirror flat on the table, but I didn’t have one the proper size so I made do with a piece of tin foil glued to a board.
Then Martha’s article advised that before I “clean, decorate, or set the table,” I should “clear any extraneous clutter from the room.” I wasn’t sure what she meant by “extraneous.” Well, maybe that saddle up-ended in the corner waiting for me to fix a broken tie could be removed. I suppose, if you’re picky, the several stacks of the Fence Post and Range magazines occupying a couple of the chairs could be considered extraneous.
Martha said the dining table and dining room often become “catch-alls” for clutter, therefore one should put all the loose clutter in a plastic storage container, label the container and take it to the attic or garage. I don’t have a garage or an attic. I do have a plastic container. It’s a square bucket that once held 25 pounds of scoopable kitty litter.
I began dropping items in the bucket starting with the bowl of lambing rings, a box of hog rings and a loose pile of ear tags. A curry comb, a wad of orange bale strings, a hoof pick, a bandana, two pairs of mismatched yellow work gloves, a month-old copy of Agri-West, a Swiss Army pocket knife, and an ob strap followed. Plus a pair of fencing pliers, a box of staples and a broken snaffle bit. This “clearance” removed most of the clutter from the table except for a camera, a half-eaten sandwich, a pair of spurs and a bridle hanging off the back of a chair. The bridle has a broken rein which I’m planning to fix … maybe this evening, so I left it hanging. The spurs I parked on top of the croquet balls in the Easter-basket cornucopia. The camera I stuck in my pocket, and the half-eaten sandwich I tossed to Bailout the Cowdog.
I picked up Martha’s article and read more directives. She stated the “Midas Touch” is popular for Thanksgiving tables this year. She explained that means spray-painting centerpiece stuff gold. Well, the gilt didn’t take too well on the straw basket, but the once lime-green egg, the croquet and cue balls and even the spurs look stunning in gold.
It’s not easy living up to Martha Stewart standards.
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