Empty Pans

Reindl 2007

Not ready to be returned

All of our mothers teach us some pretty crazy stuff – things like

– always wear clean underwear in case you are hit by a car and they have to cut off your clothes – they will see you are a good person because you have clean underwear.  My son, Tim had this happen to him last year in an accident where he had a concussion – they cut off ALL of his clothes (wool coat, boots, jeans – and yes – even his underwear).  I didn’t see his pile of destroyed clothes when we went to the hospital, but I remember thinking that I hoped he had clean ones on at the time!

– your face will freeze that way if you keep making that face.  Never have know that to happen – but I have noticed that I tend to avoid certain facial expressions because I think it will cause more wrinkles than I already have!

– hiccups will make you grow.  I’m pretty sure this is an outright lie – otherwise, I would be 12 feet tall.  However, just in case, I tell my granddaughter the same thing.  The one thing it does do is takes her mind off how irritating the darn things are and concentrate on how tall and beautiful she will become because of them.

Then there is the stuff which seems to be rooted in tradition –

– never visit a house for the first time without a gift.  Seems like one of those nice things to do that we don’t seem to do any longer.

– never give a knife as a gift without a penny – so you don’t cut your friendship.  Not sure why this is – but I know I don’t give knives to anyone who isn’t a friend – but I do it anyway – just in case.

– never discuss politics or religion at a dinner party.  I would like to add weather to this list in light of how people feel about global warming (or lack thereof) – another one of those nice things that make an evening nice – and keep someone from calling the police or riot squads.

One of my favorite traditions involved empty pans.  The rule was that you were never to return a pan empty to its owner.  So – if someone brought a dessert to your house in something that needed to be returned – you better be putting something in that pan when it went back home.  No empty cake pans, bread tins or other food conveyances were ever returned to their owners without something in them – cookies, candy – and in one instance, when we couldn’t find anything in the house, my mother made me put two boxes of Jell-O in the pan – I didn’t actually make the Jell-O, just put the boxes in the pan.  Duty done – the pan was not empty – so it worked.

I’ve slipped over the years in following through on this tradition – which I think is a thoughtful way to say thank you for sharing your bounty with my family.  I think I’ll try over the next year to return pans with something special in them to their owners – and if I run out of stuff, I think I will raid Pat’s ‘treasures’ instead of using something as silly as a box of Jell-O!


3 responses »

  1. Some of those traditions are still alive today.
    Here in Bulgaria it is consider rude to return empty pans, plates, or anything without putting something on in return…

    My Grandfather always used to tell us kids no to pull silly faces because if the wind changed you would stay ;like that

    Happy New Year to you and Pat

  2. My mother had a lot of these same traditions and superstitions. The taking a gift to a new home meant taking a slice of bread and a penny–the gift meant the home would always be nourishing and prosperous.
    And if I was head over heels about some good looking guy she would always remind me handsome is as handsome does.
    I wonder if people still have these little things sayings handed down to them.

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