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Who’s Calling?

Cleaning out a cupboard or two is a good thing to do if you’re feeling overwhelmed, or simply too tired to do any work that requires real thinking. A high-up cabinet in the kitchen stuffed with all manner of never-used things was today’s job.

Dusty extra coffee cups, serving trays at the ready for big parties we’re never going to have, and spring-form and angel food pans for cakes I’m not going to make jammed the space.  Putting things to rights and setting aside some to donate, I found this old calling card tray. It was always on a table just inside the front door of the house I grew up in.

MTQ Calling Card Tray

The tray was black with tarnish, and while I scrubbed it with silver polish I thought about how getting in touch with people used to involve more time and planning. If you called on someone who wasn’t at home, no “where r u” text, but a calling card left on a tray like this. Calling cards were different from business cards—they typically held only your name with no address or phone number. A woman’s card would have the obligatory “Miss” or Mrs.”

The cleanout also uncovered the fact that I seem to own not one, not two, but three candy dishes. They aren’t as old as the calling card tray, but the concept seems as archaic.

Candy dishes

I washed off the dust, and now I may go out and buy enough candy to fill them all.  I had a failed go at candy corn earlier this month, so I’m thinking M&Ms for the big one, circus peanuts in the medium one, and fireballs in the smallest dish. Come by and have some. You won’t even need a calling card.

About treacycolbert

I make my living by writing about health care. I've always written about life's chastening effect, but just as a way of sorting it out for myself. After years of doing this and keeping these essays quiet, I decided to put some of these impressions out there on this blog. Thanks for reading, and let me know what you think.

3 responses »

  1. Nicely diverse treats. Circus peanuts! Best loved for their weird texture!

    The calling card tray is delightful. An early attempt at Sun answering machine, one might say.

    • I occasionally crave circus peanuts, but the reality usually doesn’t live up to my fantasy of them. A bit like eating packing material. Yes, an early answering machine! Wish I’d thought of that comparison :-).

  2. I love this essay. I thought I left a comment but it must not have come through. What a personal way to let someone know you stopped by…calling cards. Ah the old days, so civilized! Of course, my favorite place in my grandmother’s house was the hutch with the crystal candy dish. 🙂 I love your work, Treacy!


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