Bates is by far the hardest working character at Downton Abbey. This revelation came to mind as I stood there yesterday polishing my mama's sterling silver goblets for our family's Christmas Eve dinner. Just when I thought I had removed every bit of tarnish, the cloth would have more black on it.
Anyone who really knows me, knows my affinity for sterling silver flatware. I guess I got that from my Mama. Not only did she collect silver, she used it. As children, we ate all our family meals using Mama's sterling flatware. And there is little doubt in my mind that that sterling silver saved our family from dying of some bungee bungee disease brought on by Mama's cooking, or lack thereof. On those evenings when she "retired" early, what was left for dinner was often questionable at best.
I am testament to the fact that the alloys in sterling silver will fight off most any viral or bacterial infection. Under cooked meat, mystery casseroles, or charred roasts all seemed a little less daunting when using silver utensils. We may not have been born with a silver spoon in our mouths (and all the largess that accompanies it) but we used one at most meals. Thank God to the quick thinking of Great Great Grandmama who buried the family silver in the garden. In many cases that was all some southern families had left when the dust settled.
Perhaps that is what saved most of the British explorers in Africa. They always traveled with their cooks, porters, and full accompaniment of fine crystal, china place settings, and sterling for their meals. Just a thought.
So I could relate to Bates as I sat there polishing each piece. The Victorians had their silver and enjoyed it, but they also had their servants to keep it polished. But, that's OK, I still look at it as a life saver of my youth. Or at least that is how I justify polishing all of it.