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Spoon love continues!

February 17, 2012
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I received the sweetest package in the mail this week from my Aunt Violet.  She read my blog post about spoon love, and sent me a very special spoon that belonged to my great grandmother!  My mom’s dad’s mom was named Mary Catherine, but everyone called her Jackie.  I was only 3 when she passed away, but I remember a bit about her.  She loved to play cards, an enthusiasm that was passed on to everyone in the family!  She had a fluffy white cat named Mr. Purr who would sit with me on a blanket on the grass.  She loved yard sales.  She was from Switzerland, and loved chocolate (another family-wide love)!

In college my mom and I went to Switzerland to visit the town where she was born, Sattel.  We ventured on a little train out into the countryside and after exploring the teeny town and its winter sports center, stopped in at the local restaurant.  We had a delicious lunch of spaetzel and meat in gravy, and at the end of the meal asked the waiter if he knew the name of a distant cousin who had visited Kentucky from Switzerland several years ago.  Not only did he know her, he drove us up the mountain to the family’s house at the top!

Though they weren’t expecting company, our distant relatives graciously received us.  We explained the connection and they were thrilled that we surprised them with a visit.  The household consisted of two ‘elderly’ parents (who were amazingly sprightly and energetic!) and their adult daughter.  They lived in a beautiful old house and owned a dairy farm.  The daughter spoke English, and provided much needed translation between the parents and us, and I think all of us were grinning ear to ear during the length of our visit.

While the mother prepared a little afternoon snack, the father pulled on his wellies and took us on a walk to see the property.  We trudged up and down through fields and forest, as he showed us the views from the top of their hill and the boundaries of their land.  We met a few cows along the way too!  It was so nice to see how proud he was of their life there and how simple that pride in his hard work and achievements can be (and should be!).

We meandered back to the house, removing our mucky shoes before we tracked mud and who knows what else all over the floor.  The mom had laid out a beautiful little spread of homemade bread, cheeses, cured meats, jams, butter, and the fresh, unpasteurized milk from their own cows!  (I think the butter and cheese were their products as well, but will have to confirm that story with mom:))  We had worked our appetite back up after our little hike which made everything taste even more delicious!  I thought it was very cute that though the food was on serving dishes, we all put our bread, fixed up with the goodies mentioned above, directly on the table, rather than a plate.

We chatted some more as we ate, and then it was time to head back to Zurich on the train.  We gave a hug-filled adieu, and the daughter gave us a ride down to the station.  Talking about it on the train, my mom and I couldn’t believe our good fortune that day!

It is often the simplest things that bring us the most joy, and this surprise visit definitely reconfirmed that idea for me.  We had such a lovely time with our family in Switzerland!  And the rest of our trip in Europe seemed just as magical…

Post script : This spoon is very beautiful, with a floral or vine pattern on the stem, and a deer figure at the end.  The back of the spoon says Italy, which is a nice coincidence, as I’ll be traveling there next month to visit a friend from college!

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