99. The Gift

I have always felt that the expression “Everything happens for a reason” is ridiculous. Sure, things sometimes work out, but everything? For a reason? What about cancer? Child abuse? War? Trump?

But now I’m not so sure.

Back in 2014, my dear friend Lisa got engaged to Jesse. They had met in a grief group a few years before, having both lost their spouses to sudden illnesses. I think Jesse is the greatest, and I couldn’t have been happier. So that year, when we found ourselves near the Puglia town of Grottaglie, known for its ceramics, I decided I would buy her a special wedding gift, something that would make them think of our friendship whenever they used it.

A wall announcing the ceramics quarter of Grottaglie.

I settled on an over-the-top platter, busy with bluebirds and flowers and vines. I know Lisa likes to entertain, and I imagined them using it on Thanksgiving, Christmas and other special occasions. Perfetto!

Fast forward five years. After the longest engagement in history, they finally picked a date and a location, a destination wedding in Kauai, Hawaii. I retrieved the platter from where it had been stored out of harm’s way, wrapped it in bubble wrap, and sent it off to their home in California. A few days later, I received this photo.You can imagine how upset and disappointed I was.

So on this recent trip to Puglia, when I realized that we would only be 90 minutes from Grottaglie, I insisted we make a side trip. My goal was to find an exact replacement. So as soon as we picked up our rental car, we hustled down there, determined to beat the 1 pm closing time for their four-hour midday break.

I wonder who’s buying this one, and why.
The beautiful…
…and the strange

And sure enough, we found the exact store, and a close-enough replacement.

Mission accomplished!

But as the shop owner was wrapping it up, a question occurred to me. He spoke no English, so we were forced to rely on my pidgin Italian: “May I to eat? It goes well with the food?” “Oh, no, signora,” he said. He managed to convey that the plate was not intended for use with food but for display, and that the paints used would actually be harmful.

So I ended up getting a bowl with the characteristic Grottaglie rooster, with the added significance of a reminder of the thousands of wild chickens and roosters roaming the Hawaiian island where Lisa and Jesse were married. Not quite so over-the-top gorgeous, but lovely, and practical, too.So did the shattering of my first gift, which I viewed as a catastrophe at the time, happen for the reason of preventing my friends from getting lead paint poisoning? Maybe instead of “Everything happens for a reason,” the expression should be “Sometimes, things work out for the best in the end.”

I’m a bridesmaid, with Jesse and Lisa

3 thoughts on “99. The Gift

  1. Wow so honored to be featured in your blog! I appreciate my broken platter even more now . I really do believe that things often, very often, work out for the best in the end and if they don’t , maybe it’s not the end !!!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s