I'm going to go out on a limb here, and assume that not everyone knows what I mean by "hope chest."
If you do know, bear with me, ok?
Sometimes when women are young, they and their parents start what is known as a hope chest. This is simply a gathering of, buying of, some of the things that a new bride will need after she's married and moves off. Because, unless you are a trust fund baby, you'll need all the financial breaks you can get when you're a newlywed.
Sainted Mother however, actually started such a collection for me. We called it my hope chest. Hey, I take jokes really well, but a guy having a hope chest in Louisiana is a situation rife with possible jokes.
Sainted Mother, having had four kids, was pretty good at bargains. And at her grocery store of choice in Monroe, Brookshire's, they often offered good quality silverware, and dinnerware, and so forth, as a reward for spending beaucoup money. (Choice of grocery store is a solemn thing, not to be taken lightly.)
It just so happened that, three of the four above mentioned children were boys, who had hollow legs. How can teens eat so much? Jeesh, it's embarrassing to think about now.
Anyhoo, Sainted Mother dutifully collected said silverware, dinnerware, and kitchen items over a period of years.
Hey, they really were good quality things, and they were free, so I don't blame her. Heck, it was the next best thing to S&H Green Stamps, which had kinda died out over the years. And if you are going to spend hundreds of dollars per month on groceries, you WILL take the freebies too.
Flash forward to when Lovely Wife and I were dating. We had been dating a while, and it was a little while before our engagement, but I was over at her house and her Mom mentioned her hope chest. Her stuff was literally in a big chest beside her bed.
I mentioned that I had a hope chest too, and her family all got a big kick out of that, then we let the subject die.
Well, sometime later, when Lovely Wife (to be) was over at our home, Sainted Mother told me to show her my hope chest stuff.
I went and dragged it all out and showed her the utensils, silverware, plates, and all that stuff. I distinctly remember that Lovely Wife seemed completely underwhelmed.
Of course I thought it was that it was too early to talk about such things and that I had probably scared her by Mama and I doing that.
Then, next time over at her house, she says, "Come with me. I want to show you something." And we went back to her room.
She clears off her bedside chest, opens it up, and starts to pull out her hope chest dinnerware and silverware.
She had the exact same stuff that Sainted Mother had saved for me over the years. Same plates, cups, etc., with all the same patterns. She had the same silverware with the same pattern on the handles, everything.
It was surreal.
That was why she was so quiet at my house; she was stunned and kinda freaked out that we had all the same stuff for when we got married.
And like I said, this was before we were even engaged, so it scared her.
It's funny to think about now, and when we talk about it, you can tell that she still recalls how scared she was when she saw I had all the same hope chest items she did.
And when we finally were married and out on our own, we had PLENTY of plates, saucers, knives, forks, etc., and when we broke some over the years, it didn't really matter, because we had so many to begin with.
I mean really, didn't she know that it was a sign from God that we were meant to be together? (hee hee)
Actually, I think it was that very thought that scared her into silence that night.
Good times, good times.