Leaf Dishy-Plate Thingamabobs!

Leaf Dishy-Plate Ceramic Thingamabobs—set of four!

When I was a kid smoking was socially acceptable. There were commercials on TV with catchy jingles. Even my mother, who was (and I assume still is) a virulent non-smoker, had ashtrays all over the house when we were growing up. While I share my mother's virulence, I don't think I have a single ashtray in the house. People can smoke outside, I figure. Once we had a guy work on the house who was a smoker and while he did good work it drove me nuts picking up all the butts around the house for MONTHS. He just flung them into the lawn. If you are ever invited over my house (and most assuredly you will NOT be; this is a hypothetical situation to make me appear friendlier than I actually am) do NOT do this. I probably will not say anything, because I am very Well-Bred and Polite, but rest assured I will be TOTALLY ANNOYED after you are gone.

So the first thing I thought, when I saw this set of ceramic flowery dishes, is "Oh, look. A set of ashtrays." Which I am sure is not true, but I can't think what in heck 'n' tarnation they might be, otherwise.

I suppose to be honest I don't think I've ever seen ashtrays with gilt edges. But then again, while my good hostess mother provided ashtrays for her smoking guests I don't think she ever spent lavish amounts of money on them. But what are they, if they are not ashtrays? They have little holes in one side, which makes me think they're just decorative and you're supposed to hang them on a nail. That makes me think they might be candy dishes, but why would someone need a matched set of FOUR? That's a lot of candy! Granted, I don't much care for candy, but I think four dishes is overkill no matter how much you might like it. They don't have the little round impression in the bottom to indicate they are the bottom part of a cup and saucer set.

(Do they still MAKE those, even? When I was a kid my mom had whole stacks of differently patterned china cups and saucers. If I wanted some tea I had to pick which pattern I wanted among the cups, and then hunt for the bottom among the stack of saucers. It never occurred to me to just grab what was handy. If they didn't match it was against the RULES and I couldn't enjoy my tea! And once when I was living up in Canada with my aunt we were invited to tea by her (then) 96-year old Scottish neighbor. Since I was the guest of honor ("Mary's wee American niece!") I was given her Scotch Thistle cup to drink from. I have no idea what the significance was, but it was a Big Deal. That and I was given a huge coffee-table tome about Princess Diana to read during my stay because I made the mistake of admiring it. The book weighed more than my aunt and our hostess combined. I only admired it to please them, since elderly Canadian Tory women were just absolutely MAD about the Royal Couple, so I knew saying "My, what a lovely book!" would be a nice thing to say. (Again, polite and well-bred. See, Mom? I CAN behave if I try!) I lived to regret that, since for the rest of my stay the book's owner kept asking "How are you liking the book?" and I had to lie about how wonderful it was and thank her profusely. I was over my grandmother's when the wedding took place and she woke us up at three or four in the morning to watch it. I was rather sad they divorced before my aunt died, since it must have been horribly disillusioning for that whole group of very sweet elderly Canadian ladies. But I digress.)

Being the practical no-nonsense person that I am, if something does not have a purpose other than to be decorative I don't really understand its need for existence. Other than obvious art pieces, like sculptures and paintings. I enjoy them and DO see their need for existence, so that's okay. But I like things to make sense if they are just meant to be decorative, or are just for pretend use. I figure these can't be bowls because they are too shallow, and the nail holes render them pretty much useless for anything liquid. That along with the lack of circular impressions in the bottom indicate they're not saucers.

(Saucers, again! Always back to the saucers. Incidentally my grandmother--who did not get along too well with children--liked to tell us instructional stories on what a swell person Queen Victoria was. I believe they were her own childhood stories, what SHE grew up with, so she thought children of my generation would appreciate them as well. But these stories weren't exactly children's classics, like Charlotte's Web or Winnie the Pooh, but boring stories with ham-fisted morals. Like, ferinstance, Queen Victoria used to invite some of her very unworthy subjects to tea because that was the sort of swell person she was. One time some lowly shepherd or cattle driver or pig farmer came to tea and (my grandmother would practically shout this for emphasis, since such a fox paw like this was oh so important in her circles) the shepherd SLOPPED HIS TEA INTO HIS SAUCER and then DRANK IT STRAIGHT FROM THE SAUCER! What did Queen Victoria do?

(To hear my grandmother speak of this story this poor ignorant person committed such an atrocity against polite society he should have been DRAWN and QUARTERED on the SPOT! But no--Queen Victoria was SUCH a swell person that, while her staff gaped and gasped at what an AWFUL PERSON this poor guy was, instead of screaming "Off with his head!" she politely poured her own tea in her own saucer and drank it from the saucer. (Grandma would recite this story in a tone of absolute wonder, like Queen Victoria was Mother Theresa or something, for she herself ("she" being my grandmother) would NEVER EVEN CONSIDER drinking tea from the saucer, and probably would have at least GLARED at the poor bumpkin the entire painful meal.

(The only moral I ever got from that story is the vague notion that Queen Victoria must have been a much nicer person than my grandmother. The whole POINT of etiquette, anyway, is SUPPOSED to be to make your guests feel welcome and at ease and NOT to make them feel inferior, but my grandmother saw it instead as a set of obscure rules, like a secret handshake, to separate people of class (that would be her) from hoi polloi. This secret handshake was passed on to me in the hopes that I would not shame the family, but most of the time I don't bother Just To Be Contrary. Plus it ensures I get a lot of negative attention from my mom, who likes to have conniptions and call me up to remind me that I Wasn't Brought Up That Way. But unlike my grandmother, my mom just does that to preserve appearances--underneath the conniptions I suspect she is privately amused by her children's various and sundry misbehaviors.)

Where was I? Oh, these things. I think they're a set of decorative plates. There's four of 'em, as you can see. They seem to be in pretty good shape--no chips, no cracks, no scratches in the paint/decal (don't ask me which it is). The backs of each one say "NASCO" and :"MADE IN JAPAN" inside a little flourishy frame. Each dish is a little shy of five inches in diameter, if you can say a leaf has a diameter.

And of course they come with their Certificate of Craptacularity, so you could possibly arrange the plates around the framed certificate to further impress any visitors to your home. But like they say in tiny type on a food container, it's just a Serving Suggestion and you are in no way obligated to do this. In fact, in all honesty, I would not do this, myself. But then again I do not want to put these dishes up on my wall anyway, which is why they're for sale. Duh! So happy bidding, happy regifting, all that stuff. Because you know deep down Mojo has only the fondest thoughts toward her friends on eBay, no matter how snarky she may sometimes sound.