Most modern meals require a fork, but they lack the simply beauty of spoons. Spoons are for stirring, scooping, serving, tasting. Spoons are symbolic: silver ones for prosperity, “spoon fed” for having it easy, “greasy spoon” for a diner. I collect spoons; for me they are a totem. It started with my Great Grandmother. She had two racks of decorative spoons hanging in her dining room. Some of them were from places she had traveled, others may have been gifts. When she passed my sister and I each inherited eighteen spoons.
My Great Grandmother lived 96 years. Until the end, she had rich auburn hair, wore pearls, and lived alone. She was the smartest woman in my family and the most liberal, an avid reader, news junky, who could beat anyone at cribbage. She was elegant, a dainty eater who loved beautiful serving dishes and always put a bendy straw in my Coke.
I wish I had started my own collection earlier, mapping out my travels with coffee spoons like J. Alfred Prufrock. Instead, there are haphazard additions: a spoon my sister brought from Rome, one decorated with a confederate soldier’s cap found by a friend at a thrift shop here in Georgia, a blue one salvaged from the beach at Dead Horse Bay.
When I inherited the spoons I examined each one, imagine the places they came from, noticing the fine details. One is adorned with a tiny pair of clogs, another has the raised veins of a leaf. Their beauty enchants me. I imagine them laid out on the tables of kings, traveling over the ocean, carefully wrapped in towels. I love the way they’ve aged, the dark rainbows of tarnish. I imagine their stories, as if each was a tiny world like a snow globe encapsulating a piece of my grandmother’s history.