Wandering down the baking aisle at the grocery store tonight I spotted some paper doilies hanging on a display. With no notice at all my head spun into a wonderful place of memories of Grandma’s house at Christmas.
There was always something to do at Grandma’s. She had little jobs of all sorts and for some reason they never seemed like jobs. There was silver to clean and the chandelier to polish, cookies to make and tables to set but when the tasks were in short supply for small fingers there were always paper doilies to colour.
Now I know the doilies really didn’t need to be coloured but at the time it seemed as if it was important a task as all the others. It was a very particular sort of duty.
The task began with the very tedious chore of separating the doilies. They were always kept in cellophane sleeves in the second drawer of the sideboard. They had to be carefully slid out of the cover and then carefully pulled apart. The more complicated the cutting in the paper the more difficult they were to pull without tearing them. Once I had what I was going to colour the rest needed to carefully placed back in the cellophane and returned to the drawer.
The colouring of the doilies varied depending on the season and the occasion. At Christmas they had to be coloured red and green. In the spring they were often adornment for cookie platters at a bridal shower so they had to be done in pretty soft blues and pinks.
At some houses the pretty doilies might have been saved for tea parties with only Grandma but not at my Grandmother’s home. She used them proudly and pointed out the lovely job I had done on them to everyone who took a cookie from the plate. She told me she saved some for tea with her friends and I have no doubt she did. Some even made it to the church in those lovely decorative tins that held our cookies when they went elsewhere.
I don’t colour paper doilies any more but the new mandela craze is a close second. There was something very special about Grandma’s house. I don’t think it was just her appreciation of everything I did with her but there was an overwhelming knowing I was loved