When I was a teenager, for about two years I lived with my grandmother. My grandmother is one of those distinguished West Indian women who believed everything had to be just so. Everything had its place. Things were done because that's just how it was done. She was the type of person who would actually iron and starch her sheets. And while she was a warm, lovely person to live with, I knew that I had to mind myself.
My grandmother, like many women of her generation, believed that when company was over, you pulled out your best linens for the table; however, if it was just family or close friends you used handwoven placemats. I don't know where she got these placemats, but it she always had them, and all her friends had the same ones. I used to love them -- stare at the intricate work, and admire their sturdiness.
As an adult, I'm not as proper as my grandmother (much to her chagrin, I'm sure). I use placements for everyone. I don't have fancy bone china. But recently, when I was in St. Lucia, I went to an open air market -- and there, right in front of me, were placements exactly like my grandmother's. I bought 8 on the spot.
So now, every night, my family eats off of these woven placemats. And I'm sure my grandmother is well pleased.