Saturday, November 13, 2010

Facing It

I found these brown-eyed ladies
among the common dinner plates.
Last weekend I found a pair of what I’ve been calling "face plates" at Value Village. Face plate sounds more like a printing term than a kitschy accessory. In the dishes aisles were two plates with fluted edges and portraits of women with brown eyes and what looks like tastefully Aqua-Netted hair. There were no names on the back of the plates, just a price tag. I looked among the other plates, dinner plates trimmed in floral or country cabin or geometric designs, to find other face plates for this set. No luck.   I was on a fruitless mission for some pyrex baking dishes (part of an onset of Lasagna Fever), but I knew these brown-eyed sisters/cousins/friends/muses would come home with me.
And they wouldn’t be used for salad under my watch.
Of course I can’t help wonder about the provenance of these face plates. Are there other orphaned plates out there from a larger set that once spanned a Meemaw’s mantel? Were these women the instigators or the recipients of these plates? Or both?
John hung the plates for me near the sink, so I lock eyes with these ladies several times a day. I like thinking of them as mirrors, or portals. With a bit of craft and polish, I might pass as one of them.
Also, my high school training in yearbook design has paid off. Remember the giant grid paper you’d block out with pencil? Remember how your elements had to face the gutter (now there’s a printing term!), the trough between pages, part of which would disappear in the binding? In this case, my many-paned glass door is the gutter. The face plate ladies look toward the door from the left, and Latchhook Jesus faces it from the right (His gaze also tilts upward, awash in the sun and honey stripes beamed from the yarn sky).
My glass door was missing a pane until Friday. Begone the duct-taped cardboard cover!
I also bought a pink glitter styrofoam skull last weekend. (I confess, dear reader, that I bought it at Target, which is on my bad list for its unsavory political contributions and also for its ad campaign hating on homemade Halloween costumes). The skull now sits on the file cabinet in my office, next to a white Styrofoam head topped with my velvety pirate hat (used for pedagogical purposes, as in wearing the hat means you’re the discussion leader). The Kitchen Hermaphrodite head (which definitely did make the cut of Things to Move 700 Miles Even Though They Came From A Thrift Store) is also in my office, though I don’t call he/she by that name anymore, not least because he/she is no longer in my kitchen.
The glitter skull is a fitting emblem of the melancholy stitched into this season. There’s the pink sunset that comes so early now, spread thin above the evergreens. In the encroaching darkness, fiery colors of maples thin and extinguish themselves.

Dickens investigates the specter of mortality.

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