I’m of the opinion that some of the BEST gifts you can get (AND give!) are practical things such as kitchen utensils, pots, and the like. Back in the mid-70s one of my songwriting collaborators moved to L.A. from NYC and gave me a bunch of kitchen stuff she didn’t want to move out west: a food mill that I somehow lost track of, a DANDY slotted spoon and 2 pieces of square Corning Ware with one glass top that fit them both. I still use the slotted spoon, even though the handle broke off at the end, and I use the Corning Ware every time I make something bake-able, like zucchini-lasagna or chicken divan – that I can bake one for “now” and put the other one in the freezer for “later”.
And I think kindly of Sally every time I use these items – which is pretty much every day. I think, “bless her heart! Sally gave me this nice slotted spoon I’m using at this very minute – which I’ve had for… 35+ years! SHE thought its number was up, but I keep using it every day!!” (note: they don’t make spoons like that any more – I’ve bought plenty of slotted spoons over the years, thinking, “I’ll just get rid of that beat-up, ratty-lookin’ spoon of Sally’s and replace it with THIS shiny new beauty!” – only to have the new spoon fall apart, not FEEL right, or whatever. Back to Sally’s I go.)
So I think kindly of Sally. Just as I think kindly of my friend Larry practically every single day. “BOY, do I like having these Rubbermaid containers! What a great friend Larry was to give them to me. They’re the PERFECT size for these (fill-in-the-blank) leftovers.” (Leftovers ARE my second favorite thing for dinner – second only to Reservations! Sometimes they’re FIRST, OVER Reservations, because you don’t have to leave the house – just reheat what you’ve already got!)
I have few regrets in life – but one is that, after loaning a friend in Chicago an extra 1-quart Revere-ware saucepan with lid I had, when he was getting settled in to his first place and learning to cook, I took it back when he moved to North Carolina. I don’t know WHAT I was thinking – I didn’t really NEED the damned pan – he’d had it for YEARS and I never missed it, but when he asked if I wanted it back, I said, “yes” – and now it sits collecting dust at the back of my pantry. I NEVER use it. And judging from the shape it was in when I got it back, I’m pretty sure he used it a LOT. Just think of all the good vibes I forfeited from my lack of foresight! He could have been blessing MY heart all this time!