When I was seven years old, my Grandmother’s ladle went missing.
This was her favorite ladle. This was her only ladle. She had a very bizarre attachment to this ladle. She became convinced it had been stolen.
Suddenly, she trusted no one in the family. Accusations were thrown left and right. Fissures were ripping the family apart as everyone claimed innocence and my Grandmother only grew angrier. Everyone had unbelievably bad alibis. No one could be trusted in the Dark Times ruled over by the ladle thief.
She couldn’t just buy a new ladle, no, it was the principal of the thing- this was her Prized Ladle, and some heathen who dared share her blood had betrayed her and stolen it. The family was in complete turmoil- no one could hold a conversation for longer than five minutes without begging for the return of the ladle. Grandmom stopped making family dinners. No one was safe, no one escaped without feeling the weight of this crushing catastrophe.
And then, one day, upon opening a bag of flour, my Grandmother learned the horrible truth.
Her ladle…had just simply fallen into the bag without her noticing.
You would think this is where the story ends.
You see, Grandmother simply couldn’t be in the wrong here. She, upon letting everyone back into her life again, declared this was all Bonnie’s fault. Cousin Bonnie had been using her kitchen for something around the time of The Incident and must have knocked the ladle in, on accident or on purpose was anyone’s guess, and left it there for the bag to be sealed up without anyone checking.
The family was incredulous! After all the drama, the woman can’t even admit her on wrongdoing? We could not just stand for this. This was injustice. The eldest of Grandmother’s children started to formulate a plan amongst themselves.
For context, there are Nine Children, and at the time of this event, perhaps…Twenty Grand and Great Grandchildren, all of varying ages. All were eventually brought into play within the plot.
On Christmas, at the large, loud, entertaining family party, my Grandmother never stood a chance of noticing her daughter Megan sliding into the kitchen.
She never noticed the shinning, silver gleam of a ladle clutched in her hand, as she handed it off to Bonnie.
She never noticed Bonnie slipping it into her bag, and never questioned why Bonnie was leaving the party so early.
The plan was in motion.
It took dear Grandmother far too long to notice the ladle had once again gone missing. By the time she turned up at Bonnie’s doorstep demanding answers, the ladle was well on it’s way to Japan.
Grandmother wasn’t told this, however; Just told that maybe she should keep a better eye on her possessions.
Before the ladle got to Japan, there was a brief stop at Bonnie’s brother’s home in Hawaii, and he gave the ladle a tour of the beautiful islands, taking pictures all the while. Then, he had to deploy with the army in Japan, and the ladle went with him for some time. She saw the gorgeous sites and also learned the ways of a soldier.
The ladle grew weary of this life, and was mailed off to another relative.
Every day, my Grandmother would wax poetic about betrayal and her missing ladle. Every day, the ladle experience a new event, city, state, or country.
While smiling, peace keeping family members would come over to help my grandmother search her possessions for her missing ladle, the ladle itself was on the trip of a lifetime.
Sports games, box seats, tourist sites- this ladle and our family knew no bounds. One uncle bought a bunch of those can holders that look like shirts, so the ladle could keep modest on her adventures. Celebrities held her in their hands. She touched foreign sands. She found herself, her life and ladle-ality on this trip. The family literally sent this utensil on an Eat, Pray, Love journey just to be petty.
My mother and I received the ladle in the winter months, near the end of her journey. We took her to New York City with us, she saw the Rockettes, toured NBC, and sat with me at David Letterman’s desk.
Everyone, for all of the ladle’s journeys, took pictures.
We reach Christmas, a full year after the ladle escaped my Grandmother’s dramatic clutches. Grandmom finds herself surprised when she’s pulled into the living room and presented a large scrapbook and a large santa-sack that appears filled to the brim.
She opens the scrapbook and gasps, now face-to-face with what has been going on all year. The book was titled ‘The Adventures of Mabel the Ladle’. The first page proclaims that Mabel escaped because she had been lonely, and every picture in there conveys every single one of her fantastical adventures with the entire extended family.
Grandmother opened the santa-sack to discover everyone had bought her ladle’s that year for Christmas- metal ladles, fancy ladles, themed ladles, every ladle you could ever imagine.
Mabel the Ladle was never lonely again.
My grandmother never lacked in kitchen ware again.