Friday, January 10, 2020

Welcome Gift by Jane P. Rosenman

My wife Jane is a writer, too. Here is a short piece she wrote about an unlikely family heirloom.

A few weeks after my family and I arrived in Orangeburg, South Carolina in 1973, I was greeted by a lady from the local Welcome Wagon. Aren’t Welcome Wagons extinct these days? Anyway, we had a pleasant visit. On her way out of the door, she gave me cards for gifts from city merchants, urging me to drop by their businesses and become acquainted with their services. At each place, I would be treated with something of value such as a free oil change from Firestone. All of my visits were rewarding, but I hesitated to use my remaining card. The reason was that it was from a funeral parlor, which struck me as odd—not so welcoming Welcome Wagon choice. Gathering up my nerve, I finally ventured over to the funeral parlor where I was met by a sweet old man. We talked briefly, then he presented me with a strange metal utensil with a wooden handle. Perplexed, I asked him what it was. He kindly informed me that it was an ice cream scoop. Although it had a flatter shaped spoon than usual, I could see that the unique design might work.

Thanking the gentleman, I inquired why on earth a funeral home was gifting new residents with ice cream scoops. Smiling, he replied, "What else can a business like ours give out?"

Over the years, I've come to really cherish this ice cream scoop.  Nearly every day, I find it handy for serving all kinds of food, mixing batter, filling muffin tins, and so forth. Occasionally, I'll use my scoop for its intended purpose, then reflect on how this simple kitchen tool is my favorite--more prized than any modern electronic gadget.