Royal Hunt

Gather around the holiday table, children, and let me tell you the tale of the royal hunt ...

Many years ago, my future husband and I found ourselves standing in a china shop in a small Southern town. It was the town he grew up in. We were to be married there in the spring.

But before we could be married, we had to register for gifts.

We had already visited an antiques store, where we (well, I) registered for several decorative objects.

We had stopped at the hardware store, where we registered for practical things, the details of which are lost to memory.

We had even registered at the local drug store, which in addition to pharmaceuticals also stocked a selection of gift items. It was there that I found a delightful pair of kitchen hot pads decorated with a drawing of a cow standing in a trout stream.

Surely, we thought, we had registered for enough.


We had to register for china.

“We don’t need fancy china,” we protested. “We registered for a lovely set of everyday china at Dillard’s. Can’t people just buy us that?”


We had to register for fancy china.

“Our everyday china is just plain, simple white. Do you have anything that might match that?”

We were shown a white plate embossed with heaps of fruit.

“Well, that’s white, but do you have anything that’s flat?”

We were shown a white plate that was flat, with an elaborate gold border.

“Look, we’ll register for crystal. Because everybody needs fancy glasses just for iced tea. Here, this one. We’ll take this one.

“Can we go now?”

No. We hadn’t registered for china.

And then, miraculously, a compromise was broached: Why not register for Christmas china?

Because everyone needs a set of really expensive dishes that can only be used once a year, after which they must be washed by hand.

The simplest Christmas china in the store was mostly white, with a relatively tasteful border of red and green, edged with gold. There were even cute woodland creatures nestled in the border.

“We’ll take it.”

It wasn’t until later that I learned the name of the china pattern: Royal Hunt.

Wait a minute … I examined that tasteful border more closely.

Those crossed brown lines underneath the animals … those weren’t sticks, they were rifles.

Those weren’t just cute woodland creatures  … THEY WERE PREY.

I pictured eating off these plates at Christmas dinner, spilling little drabs of cranberry sauce onto the bunny or the deer.

I was horrified.

But not horrified enough to go back to that store to try and find another china pattern.

Lisa Davis is features editor of The Anniston Star. Contact her at 256-235-3555 or

Features Editor Lisa Davis: 256-235-3555.