One of the traditions that holds a treasure chest of memories in our family is “The Red Plate”. For years, it has been used at our table when one of us had a milestone moment. Birthdays, first day of school, first date, anniversaries, weddings, competitions, tournaments, “just because” times:…the list of reasons to celebrate each other is endless.

Recently, when we attended my son’s White Coat Ceremony at the University of South Florida College of Medicine, I once again brought out “The Red Plate.” Feeling this was truly a landmark day in his life, we planned to celebrate at his favorite restaurant that evening. I privately arranged with the server to bring Adrian’s choice of entree on our family’s red plate. His reaction was one that I will long hold close in that secret place where mothers keep their most precious possessions.

His eyes lit up and he paused as if wondering why this server was putting his dinner in front of him on a “red plate.” Then he beamed me a million watt smile and said to the server, “This is a long-standing tradition in our family. I can’t believe my mom brought this plate all the way to Tampa for me!” The look we exchanged at that moment was priceless. He then remarked, “Mom, you know you’ve got to leave this plate to me when you’re gone; it is a part of me.” During the meal that followed, we talked about this piece of china that had been central to so many important days in our lives. Adrian asked me when and where I had gotten the plate. I couldn’t remember many of the specifics – only a beautiful blur of warm pictures pressed between the pages of my mind. My heart only knew it was thankful for the myriad of memories centered around that round red dish.

FROM: TB, St. Cloud, FL

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