Our family received our first red plate when our eldest child (now 20) was just a toddler. And so began our dinners with the red plate. At first it was brought out for the children on their big days. Their smiles and wide eyes were even brighter than the beautiful red on the plate. And always, the date, the occasion, and person were duly noted on the back.

When relatives would make the journey to visit us the kids would always run to the cupboard to get the red plate to set on the table for them. But before it could be placed on the table they ensured that I wrote the date and the guests name too. So our dinner plate began to be our “memory book” of dinners shared with family, loved ones and friends.

Through the years we have filled that plate and begun more. It has become one of our family’s signature gifts to others who have shared our table as we move, or as we share a significant event in their lives.

Recently one of our children traveled to New Zealand as a foreign exchange student. And yes, guess what she called and asked us to send as a special gift for her host family? A red plate. Since she had shared their table, their love, and so many tales she wanted to start the tradition for them while she was still there. So we added our note of thanks and mailed the plate halfway around the world. Our daughter then prepared a special meal for them, added her note and date and placed it upon their table and shared an “American” tradition with her Kiwi family. They have been such a special part of her life and it is wonderful to know that a special part of her will continue to share their table and forever be a part of their “memory book” plate.

Now when my family is gathered together with the red plate we enjoy turning it over and reading and remembering together those happy occasions recorded on our plates. It is a real conversation starter as we recall all the love, laughter, and joy celebrated on each of those days. We hope that the families we have shared this gift with will find the same joy of reading and sharing their red “memorybook” plates.

FROM: NAH, McKinney, Texas

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