– by Michael!
When Joanie and I were engaged, she asked if I had any particular attachment to any form of dishware – did I feel like having china was a necessity, was there a type of dishware that I wanted us to use, and so on. I gave her my “Are You Serious, Have We Met?” stare and she grinned:
“Fiesta-ware it is, then!”
I didn’t know what Fiesta was at the time – it was still largely a regional brand, and hadn’t finished the process of breaking into every single major department store. Joanie explained that Fiesta is a West Virginia product, the manufacturers of which had committed to keeping their operations local instead of giving in to the mad rush of out-sourcing – designed and made in the USA! In addition to wanting to support a regional business, they offer a plethora of colors in their dishes, and Joanie wanted to get a variety for two reasons.
First, by getting a variety, we ensured that we would never need to worry about “our color” going out of production – a bowl breaks? They’re not making that shade anymore? Who care?!? Just get a new one! Yay new dishes!
Second, by getting a variety, place-settings at dinner parties would be SO MUCH MORE FUN!
At first, I thought that her intent was something like this:
So that everybody had a color, basically, and knew what that color was. But no – Joanie meant this:
And she still insists that, as much as possible, we avoid having a repeat of colors at the table – for instance, if I have the red plate, nobody else gets the red bowl or mug.
At first, I thought this was crazy.
And then I noticed that the arrangement of colors that we had available to us included opportunities for me to express my own crazy – specifically, various iterations of my irrational love for college football in general, and Alabama football in particular.
Washing and putting away dishes is a Michael-job, and I quickly found that, with the array of colors at my disposal, I had to be careful both putting dishes away and bringing them back out for use. For instance, Joanie and I could never use bowls in the following configuration, especially during Iron Bowl week:
And if we were having a meal that necessitated multiple dishes per person, LSU’s gold and purple are just out of the question for complimentary plates:
When putting the dishes back in the cabinet, I have to take great care that they don’t end up looking anything at all like this:
In fact, after arranging them in this fashion for that picture, I had to reorder everything.
Other combinations – gold and yellow for Baylor, gold and blue for WVU – are acceptable. Since we don’t have a white-colored place setting yet, I can’t quite actually do Alabama, but on game-days I definitely eat off of a red plate. Or bowl. Or mug. Whatever. It happens. (I also have a lucky Alabama coffee mug, with fairly specific rules about how often and when I drink from it, but that’s probably another post.)
Joanie puts up with it. She’s a good sport. And any time I try to imagine that I’m not crazy, she doesn’t have to raise her voice or even go terribly far to remind me of the facts.
The kitchen cabinet is just a few steps away.