Who could ever have guessed its fate -
This simple holly-rimmed dinner plate?
Set apart in a china cabinet
Waiting hands to come and nab it.
Brought to the table but once a year
All to celebrate good Christmas cheer.
Placed between spoon and knife
Helping to bring the table to life.
It loved the clink and the clatter
Even the scrapes from the turkey platter
China pieces all kith and kin
A holly-rimmed service made for ten.
Never more distant than table to kitchen
They were a set, and this was a given.
Until, of course, that fateful day
When Uncle Ned couldn’t stay.
For he was a Doctor. you see
A certified maternity MD
Called to the hospital in some falling snow
His plate was wrapped to carry and tied with a bow.
Placed and forgotten on a counter in the ER lobby
It very soon spoiled and turned very, very rotty.
But a baby was born and a family blessed
Worth the price of this Christmas dinner missed.
The stinky plate was not thrown out
Even though it smelled like week-old sauerkraut.
So, to the lunch room it was carried to be hoarded
Stashed, forgotten in the cupboard it was boarded.
Folks back home didn’t miss the plate– as nine is close to ten
Unless of course, it’s time to set the holiday table again.
But the holly-rimmed china knew the loss of its own
And found it hard to be complete and whole.
Back in the lunchroom, the plate’s fate seemed grim
A lone, funny dish with a holly rim.
But its fond memories would not be gleaned
And in darkness, it sat and dreamed.
Another year came ‘round and invitations sent
Uncle Ned invited again to this special event.
He pondered and worried as what to bring
He pondered everything from salad to beans.
Working at the hospital his time was spare
And food, he knew, didn't pop from thin air.
But with a snap of his fingers and a slap on his knees,
He got an idea he was certain to please.
He ran to the store for a quick break
Got what he needed and wanted to make.
Then back at the hospital when his shift was done
He went to the lunchroom to start his fun.
Nodding his head, he began with aplomb
Knowing his creation would be met with applause
He nuked a ham with a honey glaze
Cooking it all in the lunchroom’s microwave.
He knew he’d need something to tote his prize
And he found a plate, just the perfect size.
It was in the cupboard, sitting in the cabinet
A holly-rimed plate waiting him to nab it.
He proudly looked at the work he had done
Ham and holly plate perfect to his satisfaction.
He rushed to his car to the Christmas reunion
Drove to bring the family together as one.
He brought his plate to the table not yet laid
For much of the dinner was still being made.
When the hostess saw the ham, she smiled with delight
Knowing Ned did it by doing what he might.
But she pondered his choice of plate over platter
Knowing men simply don’t understand such matters.
She thought he’d just pulled a dish from the cabinet
He not knowing each had its own holiday habit.
Quickly she switched his dish from one to another
Not wanting to embarrass her mother’s brother.
Washing the plate, she laid the table with cheer
Hope in her heart for the new Christmas Year.
She placed ten plates between spoon and knife
Never knowing nor suspect of their disrupted life.
Nor did she hear the shouts of glee
Coming from the plates' holly-rimmed family.
One had been lost, but was back in place
Christmas reunions working God’s grace.
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