I'm not a blue-blood. I don't have hired help to polish my nonexistent silver. My flatware is old. So old I don't exactly remember where it came from. Perhaps it was a gift from my parents. Or maybe Hick and I picked it out when we got married. I suspect there are sets just like it on the Walmart shelves. Except for one item.
In the spoon section of my drawer divider, down under all the other spoons, next to the bottom, is The Good Silver. The one spoon that I desire over all others. It does not match the pattern of the other spoons. This one, let's call her Spoony ('cause I'm clever like that) is more dainty. She has a thinner handle. Her bowl is tapered. She's petite, yet the same length as the other spoons.
Spoony showed up on my kitchen counter one day when I still lived in my old house. Hick was an hourly employee at that time, with his old company, before the new offshoot snatched him away and made him salaried. It was Hick who brought me Spoony. He denies it. Says Spoony was always ours. But I can tell the difference in size, weight, and filigree of flatware. If I brought home a stray shotgun, and Hick declared that it was not ours, and that I was bringing home stray shotguns, I, too, would deny it. Because I know as much about shotguns as Hick knows about silverware. But chances are that will never happen, because people at my workplace don't sit around at lunch, swapping shotguns willy-nilly.
I hide my dear Spoony away until I want her to serve me some delectable soup, or chili, or yogurt, or pretty much anything that I can't stab with a fork. The boys don't appreciate her. "Hey! This spoon's not big enough to get a good bite!" She's not that much smaller. Really. It's not like Spoony is the spoon equivalent of an olive fork. She's just streamlined. Aerodynamic.
Most nights, I wash her separately, even though the common spoons pile up beside the sink. I stash her away for safekeeping. When the spoon stack starts to dwindle, and Spoony is in danger of being exposed, I break down and wash the dishes. Perhaps I've mentioned that I have no dishwasher. Not a machine. Not the capable four hands of two boys. I'm it.
The dishes were done Saturday night. Sunday morning, only two paring knives, a set of tongs, a fork, and Spoony rested beside the sink. Oh, and the black plastic spoon with which I dip Juno's puppy chicken canned dogfood lay at a right angle, way over by the edge of the counter, towards the door. Saturday night, I forgot to feed Juno. Don't go calling Sarah McLachlan to sing me to shame. I forgot to feed her at 5:30 p.m., and remembered at 10:00. The Pony and Genius had been out on a hayride, and my schedule was thrown off. Then Hick fed Juno some dry dogfood before I could flip open the puppy chicken can. That little dog eats a-plenty. Morning, noon, and night on the weekends, morning and night through the week. Pardon me if her belly returned to normal shape for 4.5 hours.
At 5:00 Sunday evening, I called The Pony to the kitchen. "Go grab me a can of puppy chicken. I want to feed Juno before we forget." I grabbed a paper plate out of the wastebasket. Only the best for our sweet puppy. I scooped chunks of puppy chicken loaf out of the can. That's how Juno likes it. In chunks so she can wolf it down. She is not one for nibbling around a pile of moist food. I was fast approaching the half-can mark. That's all we feed her at one time. Otherwise, her little belly might burst. I dabbed the final hunk onto the plate. That's when I noticed...
...Spoony clutched tightly in my hand.
Oh! The spoonmanity! My very special spoon, SPOONY, was encrusted with canned dogfood! I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. The Pony chuckled like an Olympic-gold-medal-winning chuckler. I wiped Spoony down with a Puffs With Aloe. I soaked her in a bowl of hot water. I scrubbed her with hand soap. With GermX. I regretfully laid her back in the growing pile of silverware beside the sink to await a proper full-body immersion in scalding, sudsy water.
I'm not sure I will ever be able to look at her the same way again.