Standing in the middle of the Goodwill store, something on the shelf two rows away caught her eye. She walked over to investigate and saw a simple white ceramic bowl sitting amidst a variety of dishware. Perfect.

She walked in and avoided her husband’s eye. He knew immediately she had brought yet another piece of dishware home. Knowing better than to start a fight he just rolled his eyes and muttered mostly to himself.  “Now what’s so special about this one, and where are you going to put it?”

She ignored him and went about the task of washing away the accumulated layers of dust and dirt it had acquired from sitting out on the shelf in the store.  She lovingly dried it and set it down in the middle of the island granite counter to admire it. Not a chip on it for only $1.99.

Over the next few days, she found many uses for the bowl as she discovered it was just the right size. The right size to set off the green of ripe pears, to serve the potato chips at lunch and the strawberries for dessert

Then one evening as she dried it and set it on the counter she wondered about her fascination with the bowl. She owned much prettier bowls, like the one with an intricate glass leaf design, or the one that’s a beautiful lime green, or the large natural wood bowl that graced her dining room table. By comparison, this one was plain.

Then it dawned on her. Her grandmother had one almost like it. When entering her grandparent’s home the kitchen table, with its red and white oilcloth, was unavoidable as it almost blocking the entrance to the dining room. She smiled as she could see the bowl now, as if she were there. More cream than white, with no markings, even plainer than hers. She could envision the rest of the kitchen, including her grandmother wearing the print smock-apron she always wore.

Rarely empty, she recalled that the bowl often contained delicious dzailoogs, a braided pastry covered with sesame seeds. At Easter-time, it housed plastic green grass topped with curious brown eggs, dyed by boiling them with onion skins. Other times it served as a container for squares of watermelon with the rinds cut off and sometimes pieces of hard candy.

And now she knew it wasn’t just a simple dish at all, it was a vessel full of memories.

Armenian family gathering


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