I treat myself to roses from the grocery store (I think these are the prettiest ever!) when there are not many blooming at home, a habit I picked up from my great-aunt, Lala. She always has roses in her house, either those given to her or bought for herself, usually yellow, her favorite. I learned to appreciate, and indulge in, many of the finer things in life from her. It's the small things that make a big difference. She told me, when I was little, that water tastes better in a pretty glass. She's right. I drink my daily 64 ounces from my favorite pressed-glass goblets. Sometimes, I use my good crystal. An indulgence that costs nothing but an extra minute of hand-washing. As you can imagine, there are no paper goods at Lala's house. Only cabinets full of crystal and china, some she bought, but much that was passed down. (Funny how my cabinets look the same.) Lala is 93 and much has changed since she was my age. We live in such a face-paced world that we can't take the time to make every meal and party special with good china and table linens. But, we can make life prettier for ourselves and those around us with small gestures. Pick up a bunch of flowers with your bread and milk (or better yet, take a trip to the flower market if you have one nearby) and drink from your prettiest glass today. LIFE will taste better. Good advice from Lala.
P.S. Her real name is Claudia, but like most Southern women of her generation, this nickname is what everyone knows her by. The same is true of her sisters, Guga (Gertrude, the one with the house full of antique clocks) and Tooka (my grandmother, Elizabeth). These women and my memories of them are so dear to me and I will forever be trying to live up to and pass along their legacies.