The Butter Dish

A true, spooky little tale.

When I was a teenager I lived on the middle floor of a tri-plex that was kind of old, but not too old.  It had a fantastic front porch with a white banister and columns perching up the little roof that kept it covered.

It wasn’t a very big apartment, but the 3 bedroom layout suited our little family. My bedroom was the last one on the right down a short hallway.  It was the Master bedroom which my parents gave to me because my house was where all my friends hung out.  I could sleep 6 girls on mattresses, had a T.V and my stereo.  It was my haven and I loved it.

One night my father came down and asked me where the butter dish was.  My adolescent face gave him a look like he’d lost his mind as I asked him to repeat himself. “Have you seen the butter dish?”. “No”, I said.

The butter dish in question was not just any butter dish to be easily misplaced.  It was crystal and it was heavy. It had a sort of faceted cover and was my mother’s favorite piece of kitchen ware at the time. We were all creatures of habit as well and kept it in one of three places. On the table, on top of the stove or in the middle of a shelving unit my dad had built.

Not my picture, but this is exactly how it looked.
Not my picture, but this is exactly how it looked.

My dad left, only to come back minutes later asking, “are you sure you haven’t seen it? Is it in here?”. At this I rolled off my bed to chase him out asking “You seriously can’t find it?”

Out to the kitchen we went where my mother had her head stuck in some cupboards, clearly still looking.  So I joined in the search as their dinner was getting cold and I wanted to get back to my show.

We looked everywhere.  I mean, we even looked in ridiculous places where you would never put a crystal butter dish. After about another 10 mins of searching we were all three back at it in the kitchen. I was looking in the oven, my father was searching the freezer and my mother had moved to the drawers by the sink.  All of us had our backs to the kitchen table where my parents plates sat side by side, potatoes waiting for their butter.

I closed the oven door and turned around.  There it was smack dab in between the plates, like it always should have been. The butter dish. “Are you guys joking?” I said in that annoyed-at-the-world teenage voice. My dad said without looking, “No! We are not joking!”

“It’s right there” I exclaimed watching them turn around.  They both just looked at the table and then my dad asked me “Did you put it there?”

I stared at them both, looking for a smirk, a shared glance; nothing. “No I didn’t put it there and now you’ve made me miss my show!” Their faces told me as much as their words that they hadn’t been playing a prank on me.  We all shared a look, and then my dad moved to the table.  I watched as he removed the cover, dipped his knife in and dressed his now cold potatoes.

I’ve played it over in my mind through the years trying to come up with a rational conclusion. I haven’t found it yet. The dish was not on the table. The table was empty, save for the plates, which I had even lifted up to look under during our ridiculous search. Then the dish was on the table.

It was the first time what ever was in our place let us know it was there.

It wouldn’t be the last time for me.


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