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Thursday, August 16, 2012



The guest bathroom in the house where Mrs. Cranky grew up was always adorned with lovely linen towels.  It was apparently well known that these towels were not to be used.  When my wife’s mom was several days from leaving this world, the result of a losing battle with Pancreatic Cancer, my brother-in-law asked with a straight face, “Does this mean we can use the GOOD TOWELS?”

I was not yet a member of the family, but this comment, cold and callous as it sounds, made everyone laugh.  It was funny because of the silliness of having the GOOD TOWELS that their mom so carefully protected.  It made everyone think fondly of this woman who had only a little more time on Earth.  Somehow a person’s passion even for silly things makes them more endearing.

I only recently heard this story.  It made me think of all the nice things that people have and cherish and yet never use. 

Some people even sew THE GOOD TOWELS so they stay on the rack nice and even.  Many people have bowls of decorator soap in the bathroom.  You don’t have to tell guests not to use decorator soap; everyone knows not to touch it.  My sister-in-law says she got rid of her decorator soap…it was just one more thing to dust.

People used to cover their living room furniture in plastic so it would stay clean.  Covering a $2000 couch with plastic so it won’t get dirty is like sleeping on the floor so you won’t have to make the bed.  I don’t think people cover their furniture with plastic anymore; instead they put furniture in a “Living Room” that no one is allowed to use.

Dining rooms today are a lot like THE GOOD TOWELS.  Many houses today have eat-in kitchens.  The dining room is used for Thanksgiving Dinner and the rest of the year it is purely for show.

I think everyone has their version of THE GOOD TOWELS. 

Very wealthy people have the really good bottle of wine.  Eighty years old and stored in just the right conditions, but never to be opened.  Many families have the good china, stored in a special cabinet just waiting for the President to come to dinner.  We have Mrs. Cranky’s Waterford glasses.  They are beautiful to look at, but no one wants to use them.  “I’m afraid I’d break it!”

Oh, and I found out that after Mrs. Cranky’s mom passed away she inherited THE GOOD TOWELS. 

They are stored away in a plastic bin.

They have never been used. 

I am told they are beautiful.  


  1. Umm, guilty. I have some lovely soaps in an enamel dish with soap written on it that no one uses (and yes, I have to dust them) AND I have a whole Royal Dulton dinner service which is boxed and has never been used.

  2. After my Mom passed away,I was had the dubious honor of gleaning through all the "for good" things she had. It was sad because most of it was beyond use. Good items stored for so long, they fell apart. I vowed I would Use all my junk and we I have no for good. Just lived with. My daughter told me "bummer, you mean I don't have to spend days sorting through your stuff?" I said yeah you do, but you'll only need one bag labeled "JUNK, up to no good."

  3. I grew up with similar restrictions on what I could touch/use. All homes used to have "formal living" and "formal dining" rooms and "butler's pantries" to store all the good linens, china, crystal, silver, etc.

    Today things are much less formal and people are much more laid back. I know I am. That's why down-sizing is more do-able for us so inclined. We no longer have to put out all our showy stuff. Good riddance.


  4. We inherited a handmade silver tea service from Mrs. Chatterbox's folks. It was made in Germany and has so much silver in it that it tarnishes if left out of its special display case for long. To my knowledge, it has never been used since the day it left the silversmith's workshop. I suppose if the Pope comes over we'll serve him tea in it. And then I have a few tough questions for him.

  5. Hate to say it - but nothing in my house is good. Everything gets used, I was brought up by a Mum who likes minimalist, so if it wasn't used it didn't get to stay. I am not a minimalist like my Mum but I have inherited the use it or lose it gene.

    It might be kind of nice to actually have something that was 'just for best'

    Oooo thinking about it - I do! I have nice clothes that I only wear to go somewhere nice and then trash about day to day in shorts and a scruffy t-shirt...Do my clothes count?

    Have a great day
    Lou :-)

  6. When we retired and left California, we gave our children carte blanche to take whatever they wanted, all or none. They labeled their wishes, and we had these boxed and delivered to their houses. Hubby and I kept what they didn't want and gave these to charity.
    Now, when I visit my children, it's nice to see pieces of us at their places. They are enjoying our good china, the silver pot, etc. and we get to appreciate our good taste whenever we visit them.

  7. I didn't have any 'good stuff' growing up but once married I tried to get 'good stuff' so I'd be like all my girlfriends. Until the day I bought a lovely set of flatware and told my husband, 'this is for "best", so don't use it unless we have guests.' Nope, said he. 'I want us to feel just as important as strangers who might pop in for a meal...we'll use them now.'
    I still have the set, well used and beautifully shiny.

  8. When our mom passed away and we had to deal with all the glass and silver she never used we offered it to the grandchildren, who took a minuscule memento apiece and would have nothing else. We got it appraised and donated the lot to a working museum, who gave us a "deed of gift" and our income tax returns smiled broadly that year.

  9. That is gorgeous. They have become heirlooms. Print out this post and store it with them, for future generations to understand. ;-)

    Everything in my house is for use and this will not change until the day I inherit Granma's china from Marmie. May it be a loooong, loooong time away.

  10. i never use the "good towels" haha!

    Have a lovely day! Stop by and say hello! :)

  11. I started out that way, but no more. Everything is used, even the furniture in the front room. The dog even has her own little loveseat in front of the front window so she can look outside. If something "special" wears out, I buy a new something "special." Life's too short not to enjoy everything you have.

  12. I tend to use everything I have. It is Doc who won't use the "good towels" I put in his bathroom....he much prefers the old scruffy ones.

  13. Scary thought. We don't really have any "good towels". I'm a "it's made to be used so damn well use it" type.

    That said, my ex husband and I were given a Noritake dinner set for a wedding present. We never used it.

    I left it with him. Wonder if he's ever used it since?

  14. I'm trying to think if I have anything that cannot be used. Yes, I guess I can say that my husband has some kiss action figures that we can't touch I have some beanie babies but now towels. I give up trying to have pretty towels with 2 boys and a husband who if hands are dirty they just would use up any towel. Loved your post.

    Found you on the blog hop.

  15. When my kidlets were young, I listened to Barbara Coloroso speak about this sort of thing (among many others). What she had to say resonated with me.

    It came down to preferring to think of her kids as having good memories over the usage of the one or two pieces of dinnerware that still survived through the years, than to think of them grumbling over washing and drying the whole unused set, dusting shelves and putting them back every so often.

    I use whatever I have and I hope my kids will remember our meals together fondly.

  16. Nice posting. Even though I don't have guest towels, I really enjoyed reading your story.

  17. You're a funny man! I am trying to avoid Good Towels in my life. I could be hit by a bus tomorrow. Seize the day and the soft fluffy towel I say!

  18. I have guest bed linen that is kept in the spare room so no mere family member can use it by mistake. It's to save me madly hunting for a stain free set when we have guests though, so there is method to my madness. Enjoyed the post!


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