By Sylvia Melvin
Gentle, feminine fingers caressed my bulging sides, then worked their way down my vertical stem to a circular base. Steadfast eyes studied my form as if looking for imperfections. None were found. My maker, an 18th-century master glassblower, honed his craft to perfection.
As she held me in her hand, I sensed her appreciation for my beauty, and a puzzled look crossed her brow. Was she wondering about my history? How did I end up in an antique shop?
I longed to tell her my first home was stately and elegant. Only the finest wines swirled about my bowl, and the lips of aristocratic men and women sipped from my rim. Once a president held me in his hand while discussing the affairs of the nation. Many times, I was used to toast the health and happiness of a newly married couple.
But one evening, after a joyous celebration, a previous, fearful nightmare came true. Five, from my family of six, delicate, crystal wine goblets met a shattered fate. As the young, inexperienced server collected empty vessels, he tripped on the edge of the carpet, sending all but one crashing to the hardwood floor. Splintered glass flew in all directions. I landed on a sofa cushion unscathed, but now an orphan.
By the following week, a new set of beverage glasses sparkled on the sideboard. I was boxed and carted off to wait, day after day, on a shelf among the ceramics, carnival glass, and enamelware, hoping someone would deliver me to a new residence.
Could this be my day? Still holding me in her well-manicured hand, she took me to the attendant; her voice rang with delight as she announced my fate.
“It’s the perfect glass to seal my Jewish wedding vows.”
My heart sank. I could almost hear the guests shout, “Mazel Tov!” as my glittering shards scattered across the floor.
Customs live on; glass, like life, is fragile.