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A French-Inspired Garden and Home by Judith Stringham

Seashell Table

Sunday, July 7, 2013

The ocean calls to us 
even when we are landlocked, 
safely inland from its lapping waves. 

The siren call entices us to return to waters 
that give life to us or that sometime give death. 

remind us of that lure. 

For all time, men have answered the call of the sea and 
set out for adventures, fame, and fortune, 
searching for the allusive bejeweled treasures that sparkle 
and promise riches not found at home. 
Kissing their loved ones goodbye, 
wives and children are left behind 
to watch daily for their men to return safely. 

Each day a wife and daughter gaze out to the horizon 
searching for signs of their beloved husband and father, 
a sailor searching for his own destiny. 
Loved ones pray that he makes land safely and 
that he comes home once again. 

Hope against hope that no bottle washes ashore with a message from 
a lost sailor husband who will never find his way home. 

With a table set for two, wife and daughter surround 
themselves with reminders of the sea and, 
in turn, with reminders of their sailor who is sailing the sea. 

He is seeing real shells and fishes while they have but 
pretty, colorful glass imitations. 

Life goes on for them each day as they set their table 
with beautiful reminders of the sea. 

The sailor in his quest for fulfillment left them words that 
speak of new adventures and new horizons. 
One doesn't discover new lands without consenting 
to lose sight of the shore.
Andre Gide

Unspoken were the words that said 
also without losing sight of loved ones on the shore.

Beautiful pink peonies rise above a message in a wine bottle, 
a shimmering fish, a porcelain starfish, and a portrait of 
wife and daughter longing for their loved one. 

Setting a table each day with flowers renews their spirits and 
gives them joy and hope for the day their sailor returns. 

He is a skilled sailor, full of knowledge of the dangers 
of the treacherous sea.  
He studied detailed charts and worked alongside 
masters of the sea for years. 
While it may take a long time for 
his voyage to bring him home safely, 
the wife never gives up hope.  

Each day she places fresh flowers on the table, 

sets the table with reminders of the sea, 

and knows in her heart that the pretty glass shell 
imitations of life will one day be replaced with 
real shells from the sea that 
her loving sailor husband will bring. 

Seashell dishes - Nobilis by Fitz and Floyd
White scalloped plates - Madeline by Pier I (this spring)
Chargers - Kirkland's (this spring)
Beaded stainless flatware - Towle
Glass seashell & fish Christmas ornaments - Macy's in Florida
Blue stems - inexpensive set from years ago
Pink peonies - Trader Joe's
Sailing ship card with quote - Trader Joe's (this summer)
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  1. What a gorgeous, gorgeous table! Every detail is just perfect!

  2. I have to say WOW! I live in Florida and love decorating with seashells! You've really given me some ideas! I love everything!

  3. Your tablescape is gorgeous with the ocean theme! I love the pastel blues you have used in the design. Enjoy those wonderful peonies!

  4. Lovely, Judith! We, who live inland can only dream of the sea! I'm reminded of the architectural detail on homes called Widows Peaks that were even built on homes in the Medwest where I grew up. They were my favorite feature of the homes because they were reminders of days when the wives and daughters did go up to the top of the home to scan the sea for signs of the ship carrying their husband and father.

  5. What a delightful post, Judith. I feel as if I've had a little sojourn at the beach. Thanks for sharing all this beauty. Love the mosaic!

  6. This is beautiful. I love your glitter shells and starfish and the message in a bottle is such a clever idea. Fabulous tablescape. Thanks tons for joining Inspire Me. Hugs, Marty

  7. I became so involved in the commentary that I had to scroll back through to take in the details of the beautiful table. Those sparkling starfish and glass shells are such a beautiful accent for the table. The note from the sailor and the note in a bottle are such unique touches. I enjoyed your beautiful post. laurie

  8. How pretty!!! The table looks lovely, I love all the ornaments! So beautiful! What a great theme for the summer!


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