The Silver Pitcher

Upon her marriage, Sandra received a glistening silver pitcher. It came from her mother with a card indicating that the pitcher was on permanent loan to Sandra, and she could return it at any time when it suited her, such as perhaps when she had accumulated enough of her own things that the pitcher no longer fit with her décor. Her only condition was that Sandra take care of it and return it in the same condition.

Sandra prized the gift above all the others. She had admired it as she grew up. For the first several years of her marriage, it stood visibly in the front room with the newlyweds’ few other quality items that they wanted guests to see. She filled it sometimes with decorative synthetic flowers and other times with crafts she made herself. She kept it polished and always handled it with care.

However, over time, as the pitcher became less of a novelty, Sandra polished it less often. Then, during a move, she dropped it down a set of stairs, and it suffered a dent. No matter—it could be turned in the new home with the dent toward a corner. But later, another accident caused the pitcher’s mouth to become misshapen. And by now, the couple had collected enough of their own décor that the pitcher no longer seemed the treasure it once did. They agreed to return it to Sandra’s mother.

But as a family trip to her parents’ home approached, Sandra couldn’t bring herself to do it. She imagined her mother’s crestfallen expression and being reminded of the condition that the pitcher was in when she received it. Sandra found some silver polish and gave the vessel a rubbing. That looks better, she thought as she turned it over in her hands. The daylight coming in through the window seemed to dim over some areas of the surface, but surely this was good enough.

Or not. Sandra couldn’t sleep that night. The pitcher was still on her mind. She could see her mother raising an eyebrow at the pitcher’s condition, scratching a fingernail against one of the slightly dingy spots, tapping on the dents.

So the next day, she sought out a metalworker who could restore the shape of the pitcher. With a wince at the quoted cost, she agreed to pay for the metalworker’s services.

When she picked up the pitcher after the work was done, it certainly looked good as new. But Sandra avoided taking any chances. She placed the pitcher in a box with packing peanuts and set the box in a safe place.

On their visit to Sandra’s parents, she presented the restored pitcher to her mother, whose eyes lit up. With a grin, she turned the pitcher over in her hands, then embraced Sandra and whispered a thank-you into her ear. Sandra felt relief that she had not settled for returning the pitcher without restoring it.

Image by lloreleya on

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