Just so. 1985, Italy.
I told Dibi we didn’t need spoons, but she insisted.
It was summer, I think, and she and Pop Pop were in town from Pennsylvania, visiting us. I was 7 or 8 or 9 — the details are fuzzy — but I remember it was my job to set the table for dinner. Whatever we were having that night required forks and knives, so I placed them around the table.
"Here," Dibi said, handing me spoons.
"Oh that’s okay, Dibi. We don’t need them tonight," I said.
"Sure you do. Add them to the table."
"But why?"
"Because. You’re setting it, and they should be there," she said, giving me the no-ifs-ands-or-buts look.
She was like that, my Dibi — presentation mattered, whether it was an occasion or not. Milk for breakfast was to be poured into a pitcher; parmesan cheese for spaghetti to be placed in a dish; olives to be spooned into a bowl. She was particular, and proud of it.
At the time of the spoon incident, I remember feeling sheepish for not doing it right, for needing to be corrected. But now, it makes me giggle a little and smile, thinking about Dibi and the standards she set for the every day. Why save the fancy stuff for company? Why not make each meal, each moment, just that bit more special?
I get it now, Dibi. Thanks for the tip.

Just so. 1985, Italy.

I told Dibi we didn’t need spoons, but she insisted.

It was summer, I think, and she and Pop Pop were in town from Pennsylvania, visiting us. I was 7 or 8 or 9 — the details are fuzzy — but I remember it was my job to set the table for dinner. Whatever we were having that night required forks and knives, so I placed them around the table.

"Here," Dibi said, handing me spoons.

"Oh that’s okay, Dibi. We don’t need them tonight," I said.

"Sure you do. Add them to the table."

"But why?"

"Because. You’re setting it, and they should be there," she said, giving me the no-ifs-ands-or-buts look.

She was like that, my Dibi — presentation mattered, whether it was an occasion or not. Milk for breakfast was to be poured into a pitcher; parmesan cheese for spaghetti to be placed in a dish; olives to be spooned into a bowl. She was particular, and proud of it.

At the time of the spoon incident, I remember feeling sheepish for not doing it right, for needing to be corrected. But now, it makes me giggle a little and smile, thinking about Dibi and the standards she set for the every day. Why save the fancy stuff for company? Why not make each meal, each moment, just that bit more special?

I get it now, Dibi. Thanks for the tip.