Sometimes, a souvenir spoon is simply what it purports to be, a trifle which a traveler purchased in a jewelry store as a way of helping the mind remember the sights and sounds of the journey. Perhaps the trip was the long awaited vacation which had been anticipated for years. Maybe the travel was to the nearest big city and the small-town inhabitant was astounded at the immense size of the buildings and the hustle and bustle which characterized 19th century cities including a first ride on the great "iron horse". Possibly it was the "trip of a lifetime" to a world fair, where one could see and hear about strange foreign lands and could learn about the promises of the future. For a lucky few, the voyage may have been the opportunity to travel to distant foreign lands where the language and customs were as different as "night and day".
It is most likely a representation of a person's thoughts, desires and aspirations.
On a personal level, perhaps the spoon is a young man's way of presenting a token to his "love"--An intimate, yet public, way of acknowledging his deep affection and regard.
Maybe, the spoon represents a 25 year silver anniversary for a couple, a visible way for them to recall the problems and adversities and pleasures of a long and fruitful marriage.
Hopefully, the spoon may represent a new life, a long-awaited baby which will bring pleasure to many; or it may mark the loss of a life, and the loss of the hopes of the individual, the family and the community.
It may commemorate an important event in a community's goals such as the establishment of a new court house in the latest architectural style. This is a central meeting place for the citizen's relationship with the local government and, of course, the final arbiter of the law which regulates most of our relationships with other people.
It may be the grand opening of a new high school, an event which had been on the "drawing board" for more than a decade as countless individuals and groups worked diligently to acquire the funding for the new building, hiring qualified teachers and administrators and taking care of the myriads of details necessary for students to achieve a better education.
The spoon may represent a new library -- a community resource open to all citizens and providing free access to tens of thousands of books and periodicals. A priceless community resource where everyone can obtain knowledge irrespective of their individual ability to pay or their family's financial resources.
Perhaps the spoon represents a new steel bridge spanning the river which divides the city and reduces every commuters daily travel by two hours or perhaps it marks the establishment of a giant skyscraper which will dominate the skyline and beckon welcome to thousands.
Maybe the spoon marks the commemoration of a disaster which befell the community. Every viewer is reminded of the loss of life and property and the heroic efforts which were needed to overcome the feelings of terror and hopelessness.
Possibly the spoon represents the religious rituals of the community, or even the coronation of a king. Maybe the spoon was used to light the holy fire, or baptize a new life.
Perchance it was to simply to appease the unknown and hope for good luck, a long healthy life, or material riches.
Of course, to some the spoon is the basic implement for eating, and thus represents manners and artistic endeavors. A nicely decorated spoon in the latest artistic fashion reminds one of things greater than the immediate satisfaction of hunger. It can be used to uplift the soul and make the mundane act of eating an uplifting soulful experience.
For some, the spoon is a way to show material riches, a beautifully hand made and engraved set of sterling silver spoons from an upscale silversmithing company with precious gemstones was not in everyone's financial situation.
Shakespeare may have said that a "rose by any other name will still be a rose", but with silver spoons, the spoon may represent much more.