Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The tale of two blue pitchers

I am really drawn to two specific shades of blue -- a kind of cobalty and/or periwinkle blue. First of all, I just like to say periwinkle. It's one of those names that belongs to a fairy, isn't it? I feel that Will really missed out in A Midsummer Night's Dream by not naming one of Titania's fairies Periwinkle, although Pease-blossom, Cobweb, Moth and Mustard-seed are all very nice indeed.

Secondly, I have these two pitchers, both in pleasing tones. The one on the left is a new one purchased for FOUR WHOLE DOLLARS a couple of years ago. Although it's made of plastic, it has a graceful design and holds almost a gallon of shivery cold water or iced tea with lemon or whatever else you care to put in it. The other pitcher is very old, having been passed from my Grandmother Marshall to my grandma to me. It is of a more rustic design, glazed inside and out, but with no kiln mark on the bottom: my great-grandmother loved pottery and bought whatever caught her eye and I have to admit, that pitcher is a beauty. I estimate that is is maybe sixty or seventy years old? Hard to tell.

Unfortunately, neither one is very usable.

The new pitcher, the plastic one? It looks very nice sitting on the dining room table, filled up most of the way with ice and the rest of the way with water. The problem is that any liquid left in the pitcher for longer than, say, the time it takes to eat a family meal begins to take on the taste of petroleum or whatever it is that plastic pitchers are made from. Which? No, thanks. If I want to drink harmful chemicals, I'll just open up a can of diet soda.

My great-grandmother's pitcher is fashioned out of thick, sturdy clay. The very bottom of the pitcher is unglazed and the clay looks pretty red to me; could she have bought this when traveling out-of-state somewhere? The thing that worries me is the glaze, though. I wonder about the vast quantities of lead that might be leaching from the interior into our lemonade. Not to mention that the pitcher, empty, must weigh ten pounds. Yes, ten pounds. At least eight. Serving drinks to guests from that thing -- and I always picture sangria -- would cause the hostess to emit an unladylike grunt as she hefted the thing off the picnic table, and pouring would definitely be a two-hand maneuver.

So while both of these pitchers are beautiful, tinted in a hue that always suffuses me with well-being, I can't really use either one. Instead, I use a big ugly gallon container with an aesthetically offensive red lid that I got at Wal-Mart. Its functionality is unquestionable, but its appearance leaves a lot to be desired.

[I took this picture behind our house on our lovely little slate path, original to the house, which a roofer smashed into pieces just before we moved into the house by dropping a bundle of shingles on it. I'm always so torn about the clover that's growing in the cracks. One the one hand, weeds growing in sidewalks cracks is yucky; on the other hand, have you ever seen anything cuter than that clover growing in the cracks of that bit of slate?]


Kayte said...

The lead one would make a great flower vase! Both are so pretty.

Shauna said...

Use them as vases for flowers! They are very pretty pitchers. I always think daisies look lovely in blue vases. :)

I have always wanted a really pretty fancy glass pitcher. I don't care what color glass, I just want one. I have numerous cheap plastic pitchers that we use (though glass pitchers with lids for the water, because it tastes better that way and they were on sale at The Container Store), but I really want something fancy.

Amy said...

Put flowers in them, Shelley, and enjoy them still.