Mom’s Holiday Silverware: A Thanksgiving Short Story

Nov 23, 2013 | 2013 Articles, Terrific Tales

by Elaine Faber

Enjoy this Thanksgiving short story from mystery writer Elaine Faber.

The comforting scent of Thanksgiving turkey wafted through the dining room. Corinne glanced at the clock, mentally judging her dinner’s progress with the anticipated arrival of the children. She pulled a silver fork from the rosewood box and gave it a swipe with the polishing cloth. With the rewarding gleam returned to its tines, she placed it on the counter beside the growing stack of polished silver forks.

The dining room table was already resplendent with a paper turkey and gold and brown autumn leaves nestled between her mother’s china and, crystal wine goblets.

Corrine dipped the cloth in the silver polish again and applied it to a spoon. Memories of holidays at Mom’s house rushed to her mind. The lights from Mom’s crystal chandelier would shimmer off each shining goblet and silver spoon. Then, standing over the beautiful holiday table, she would place a chocolate kiss on each grandchild’s plate. “There,” she’d say. “That’s so they know how much Grandma loves them.”

Corrine’s husband mumbled something from the family room where he was converting Dad’s old eight-mm movies to a DVD.
Corrine poured a glass of wine. Where had the time gone? Now I’m the gray- haired Grandma, and my daughter’s children bustle through the house.

Corrine returned to the dining room and placed the polished silverware next to the holiday plates. Opening Mom’s rosewood box of silverware on holidays had been a family tradition for the past sixty years, throughout Corrine’s childhood and through the years of her young motherhood. Mom’s silverware still remained a part of every holiday dinner. It was a tradition that was constant, defying the loss of loved ones, gray hair, or children growing older. Someday, the rosewood box would grace her daughter’s table; a reminder of her childhood holiday memories. It would become part of her own traditions as she created new memories with her own children.

How long had Mom had the silverware? It wasn’t likely to have been a wedding present. Mom and Dad had married during the Great Depression.

Corrine stood back, admiring her table setting. It looked nice. “Oh! I almost forget the chocolate kiss!” She placed Mom’s droplets of chocolate love on each plate. Wouldn’t she be pleased to know her traditions were still important to her children and grandchildren?

“Honey, come take a look at this.” Corrine’s husband appeared in the door of the dining room. “It’s one of your Dad’s old Christmas movies from when you were a baby.”

Corrine sat on the sofa beside her husband and took his hand. They sipped wine as her dad’s old movie flickered and jumped across the bed sheet pinned to the wall.

The black and white speckles ended and Corrine’s mother and dad appeared. Her dad grinned and held up a hand-painted sign–Christmas Day, 1946.

“Look at that. I was barely three years old.” Corrine squeezed his hand.

Cousin Dolly and Beverly hugged Christmas dolls and little Allan sat in front of the Christmas tree running a dump truck back and forth on the rug. Corrine rocked a baby doll. Corrine’s unbelievably young and beautiful mother smiled from the bed sheet. Her brother made faces at the camera and chased little Cousin Allan around the room with his new BB gun. Big sister Lois and Cousin Wilbur ripped open puzzles and books.

Only one last gift remained under the tree. Dad handed the large package to Mom. She grimaced and waved at the camera, obviously uncomfortable in the spotlight. The Christmas wrapping fell away. She opened the beautiful rosewood box filled with shiny new silverware. She beamed and mouthed a silent, “thank you.”

Corrine’s breath caught in her throat. “Mom’s silverware! How Dad must have sacrificed to buy such an expensive gift in 1946 when jobs were scarce and times were hard.” Tears sprang to her eyes.

Here was the answer to her unspoken question. The birth of Mom’s most precious family tradition; the beautiful rosewood box filled with silverware. The connection she shared with her mother, one that she would share with her daughter and her granddaughter in the years ahead.

Corrine wiped her eyes, picked up her wine goblet and hurried to the kitchen. The oven buzzer sounded. Look at the time. The children would be here soon!

Watch for more Thanksgiving short stories over the next few days in our Terrific Tales section, including a Thanksgiving mystery short story in this issue by Sally Carpenter.

Elaine Faber lives in Elk Grove with her husband and at least four cats. She writes short stories and a cozy mystery series, The Black Cat Mystery Series. She is a member of Sisters in Crime and Inspire Christian Writers. Learn more on her website.


  1. Loved your story, Elaine! It brought back a lot of memories for me. All happy ones.

    Latest spoof: “Spider-Man Furious His Broadway Show Is Closing”

  2. This is a very sweet story. I’m so used to Elaine’s cat stories that I was expecting a kitty to be batting at the tablecloth. Warm and wonderful the way Thanksgiving should be.

  3. Likely an autobiographical story. But a good read to start the Holiday!

  4. Very touching. Love how you involved the generations through the silverware.

  5. thanks ladies for your kind comments. The story was a true experience I had one year while preparing holiday dinner.

  6. Very nice, Elaine. Reminded me of my mother’s silver that she also received soon after WWII, all anyone could afford then but how we all loved it. Thanks for the memory.

  7. Very nice story. My grandmother collected dishes from boxes of detergent in the late 1930s! They were very pretty, and only used on special occasions. From grandma to my mom, to me, and now my daughter has them. Love traditions.

    • thanks all of your comments. Hope you have a wonderful holiday and create memories with your own family.


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