Who’s better than us?

My grandfather used to insist on using The Good China on the grounds that “Who’s better than us?”  In other words, if you save the really wonderful things you own until a special enough time comes along to use them, they may never get used. Then you have these lovely items that waste away.

Last week I finally arranged the china cabinet because my Patient Husband finally brought up a lot of boxes from the basement. These had nothing to do with one another, actually, except that we’d both said we’d do these things when we moved to Angelborough nearly two years ago. Until then, the nice things stood haphazard in the china cabinet.

While rearranging them, I came across a lovely mug, white china, ornately wrought with an angel for the handle, and on one side a flowered heart and the other side a fruit tree.

I brought it to my Patient Husband. “I think I could drink out of this.”

At which point, a mariachi band should have exploded in the front door while someone handed me the prize for Mastering The Bleeding Obvious.

But since life isn’t a Monty Python sketch, instead my Patient Husband said, “Probably, but we couldn’t clean it.”

The mug design appears to have been done with a pottery stamp, so the inside is grooved to match the outside. I said, “I couldn’t put this in the dishwasher, no. And I wouldn’t try the microwave. But it would probably hold coffee.”

He said, “You wouldn’t be able to clean it, though.”

I said, “If I don’t drink out of it, then I have a mug I can’t use. If I use it once and it can’t be cleaned, then I have a mug I can’t use. If I try it and it breaks, then I have a mug I can’t use. Where’s the harm?”

This week, I have been drinking out of a beautiful mug. Coffee tastes better in a beautiful mug.

Life is full of things we deem useful but too beautiful to use.  Let’s take a dare this weekend: let’s take out that beautiful pen, that beautiful blouse, that pretty serving dish, and use it because beautiful things should be enjoyed. Who’s better than us?


  1. littlehouseofpenguins

    We have stuff like that. My POV, though, is that if I can’t dishwash it, it’s not all that much use to me. So I get rid of it. No fancy china for me! Plus, we’re military, and you get sick of packing up all that fancy stuff 3 times a year! But good for you on getting some use and joy out of beautiful mug. 🙂

    1. philangelus

      My mom has the same philosophy about the dishwasher: if you can’t put it in the machine, put it there anyhow because it’s not likely to be used otherwise. LOL! I don’t think too many things have broken that way, actually. Some of our mugs have faded, though.

      Military moves must be a huge incentive to get rid of pretty detritus, though! My mom’s friend always said “three moves equals one fire,” and she may be right. We did a lot of sorting when we moved.

      Using these things (appropriately) is kind of a way of getting rid of them, I think. If it’s so delicate I’m afraid to use it, then it’s not very useful at all.

      I’m excluding the glassware from my grandmother that I’m keeping for sentimental value and which deserves its own blog post. Maybe I’ll do that next, since ideas have been a bit short lately.

  2. Illya

    RIGHT ON! Who’s better than us….we should enjoy the lovely things we have…

    1. philangelus

      It’s begun to occur to me it’s dumb to save my lovely things for a day that never comes. Let’s have some hedonism: I’m gonna write with my lovely fountain pen and drink from the pretty mug. So there. 🙂

  3. diinzumo

    I keep trying to convince my parents of this, and they keep opting for the paper plates… even though we “kids” do all the cleaning up. I can’t figure that one out.

    1. philangelus

      Did they grow up associating paper plates with big family gatherings? Because that might give them a warm fuzzy inside, remembering days of yore or something like that. 😀

  4. cricketB

    Barbara Coloroso asks us to imagine the kids sorting the dishes after you’ve gone. Do you want them to pack the china cabinet and talk about having to dust the stuff every year (or, in our case, listen to Mom say she should dust it sometime, or haul boxes up from the basement and carefully unwrap each item they’ve never seen), or to pass around a single remaining saucer and talk about the events where the other pieces got broken?

  5. Marie

    My mom says her mom used to say, “Either you use it or the second wife will.” Grandma was a second wife, the first having been divorced (in the late ’30s or early ’40s!) for refusing to have children. Grandpa picked a Catholic girl for his second wife. Before they got married they settled on 10 kids as a reasonable goal. He even converted to Catholicism 5 years after her death. My other grandmother had wedding presents still in their original packaging 50 years after her wedding.