Indonesian Treasures

Easter table

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Today I am grateful for my Indonesian treasures.  Tomorrow we are hosting the local members of our family for Easter Dinner and we are excited beyond belief.  With everyone’s schedules it’s difficult to find a time where we will all be together, so this is a rare opportunity.

The coolest part about setting my table in Pennsylvania, is that I feel so close to my friends from Indonesia while I’m doing it.  Before we left Jakarta I went to the shop of an old man and told him what kind of dining room table I’d like.  So he made it for us, along with eight chairs. Next time I’d suggest that the chairs fit under the table with three on a side, but oh well.   He and his crew also made both of my hutches, but they must not have chatted with each other because the top trim is different.  I don’t care.  I watched them being created and that alone makes them unique. . .even got bit by the nasty resident monkey in the process.  It all makes for a better story.

I vividly remember my many visits to the Batik Factory, which was not much more than a shed, but produced fantastic fabric designs which had been boiled in acid, rinsed and then strung on dozens of clothes lines to dry, causing you to duck under them. I only have one batik table cloth that is long enough for when the table is full-out.  I picture the ladies sitting on small stools, with children clinging to their legs and wax all over their fingers, drawing on the design.  The napkins are close to the same size but not exactly, which also makes them perfect and irreplaceable in my eyes.

There is a large Chinese influence in Indonesia which is why the dishes I purchased are from there, though sold in a dusty, barn-like shop.  I bought 12 of everything they had and though I rarely use some of it, I’m so glad I have it.  Little pieces of rice are pushed into the clay, then it’s baked and the rice falls out.  When glazed it looks opaque where the rice had been.   I picture me and my friend crawling around in the brutal heat,  looking for this piece or that.  It was a blast!  And in the shipment back to the United States, not one thing got broken.

I bought the flatware in the same place. . .again buying any and all pieces available.  I laugh each time I properly set the table, with the knife blade facing the plate, because on these knives the manufacturer imprint shows when I do it that way.  Another good story.  It’s a favorite flaw.

So tomorrow, when all gather at the table, they will be joined by the dozens of faces of the wonderful Indonesian craftsmen and craftswomen who made the items we will be using.  After twenty years, I’ll be so delighted to have them there.  Happy Easter.

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