Around this time, fifty years ago, we were making wedding plans and women were giving us bridal showers. I recall that we got more towels and casserole dishes than anything else and of course they're gone. But one gift still sits in the china cabinet:
I don't really know what the proper name for it is or what it is to be used for; I call it a decanter and we always used it for pepper sauce. I'd fill it with hot peppers, add some vinegar, and put it back to let the goodness age until we had greens or beans to eat.
I still remember the woman who gave the decanter to us; she was the single mother of a girl about my age, and some older children. No doubt she puzzled over what to give as a gift when she received the invitation to our shower, and while searching through the house for something she considered suitable, she came across the glass piece. Maybe she had used it for some time, or maybe it had been set aside because of its beauty. But she had determined to part with it and sent it to the shower.
When the glass piece had been used by us for several years, it sat empty for a time; just long enough for the stopper to become stuck. Although trying as hard as I could, nothing would break the seal time had put on it. My husband, using his physics logic, suggested pouring warm water over it. Warm water didn't work either; maybe it needed to be warmer, so I brought a kettle of water to a boil. Holding the glass piece in the sink, I poured the hot water over the stopper and then there was a loud CRACK!! A part of the lip fell into the sink. Oh what had I done!! Oh if only I could take back those few seconds it took for the water to go from the kettle to the stopper!! Why wasn't I more patient with the warm water bath?
I know I must have wanted to cry, but had to realize that, like Humpty Dumpty, nothing could ever make the decanter whole again. Since then I have thought how much our lives can relate to this: how many times have we poured out hot, angry, scalding words at someone, right out of the blue, only to regret it and wish we could take it back? An apology may seem to fix things, but does the other person ever really forget, or does he send the memories to the recycling bin of his mind and retrieve them now and then?
The glass piece is still pretty; I display it on the china cabinet with an apology, but the side with the missing piece is always there, turned to the back, and now and then I retrieve the memory and think, "if only I could take it back!"