July 11, 2015

Today’s Giveaway took an unusual turn. My husband David, son Theo and David’s father Steve had planned to spend two nights with our friends Betsy and Frank on our trip to the Bay Area. I have known Betsy and Frank for so over 30 years so, since Betsy and Frank became friends with my parents in Cambridge. Betsy and my mother were in fact best friends for the next 20 years until my mum died (see also April 28). Frank is a Stanford oncologist who specializes in breast cancer and has patients all around the world who are grateful for the exceptional care he has given them over the decades. They have lived in a Their beautiful Japanese-inspired home in Woodside for over 25 years and I have visited them on a few happy occasions, most memorably when I first moved out here to live in California. So when we packed our suitcases to drive up north, I chose to bring something as a gift that would fit in well with their unique home.

We have quite a few large serving dishes in our kitchen cupboards so I decided to give them a ceramic Japanese dish that I thought would be elegant enough to grace their table. I packed it safely into my suitcase and was very careful not to bang my suitcase about on the way up here. This afternoon we arrived at their home, got settled in and prepared to sit by their pool to enjoy a drink. I joined Betsy in the kitchen while she set out a bottle of wine and some snacks on a tray. She reached up into a cabinet to bring out some wine glasses and I caught sight of the edge of the underside of a ceramic dish. Curious, I asked her if she could pass me the dish to look at and when she handed it to me, I had to laugh. It was exactly the same as the dish I had chosen to give them – the same warm brownish clay, whitish glaze and floral design. When Betsy asked what was funny, I ran downstairs and brought back the dish from my suitcase. She joined the laughter. On the one hand, I had chosen well. They had bought the dish for themselves so I had chosen a gift that they liked. On the other hand, they already had this dish!

When Frank, David and Theo saw the two dishes, they were equally as amazed at the coincidence. The problem now was what to do with the second dish. I offered them the option of passing the dish on to someone else, as I understood what it was like to have too many dishes. I could have dug something else out of my collection of Giveables that I had brought along on the trip but I didn’t think anything else would be appropriate for Betsy and Frank, such dear family friends. Fortunately, they graciously accepted their dish’s twin, suggesting they use them as a pair. Now, I guess when they are entertaining and serving delicacies on these “coincidishes” they will have a different story to tell their guests.

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