We were sorting through mounds of linens, boxes of them piled high. Mom was quick to decide what she wanted to hold on to, and seemed happy to let go of the rest. Two tablecloths caught my eye. I asked mom about them and she encouraged me to take and use them. I set the cloths aside, excited about my new treasures.
Midway through the sorting process, I stepped out of the room to take a phone call. When I returned, one of the tablecloths had been reclaimed by my sister. My first thought was to say something. But I quickly realized, she had no idea I'd asked mom about those particular cloths. Plus, she seemed so pleased at the thought of using them in her own home. "It's just a tablecloth," I told myself. No linen could hold a candle to my sister and the relationship we've shared over the years.
Twice since then, I had fleeting thoughts of the tablecloth while standing in my own kitchen. The red would have been a cheerful addition to our otherwise neutral pallet. "Just a tablecloth!" I reminded myself.
A couple of weeks later I was helping a friend sort through boxes of items she was eliminating from her life. I stumbled on a beautiful quilted red tablecloth, and just the right size. "You should take it and use it," she offered. "It'll look good in your kitchen."
Since then, the tablecloth has spent many days on our kitchen table and on our patio table as well. It's a lovely reminder that if we put people before possessions, little treasures in life have a way of presenting themselves.
I can visualize my mom's red tablecloth on my sister's kitchen table, certain it adds color and life to her home. I'm so glad she is getting to enjoy the cheerful statement it makes, and the fact that it came from our mother. I glance over at my own red cloth, stitched by the hands of my dear friend, and I'm reminded of what matters more.
People over possessions. Every time.