Nov. 26, 2022

Dustables

 

A Little Tour Down Memory Lane... No need for black Friday hullaballoo from here!

I'm grateful to be home today, at my desk in the quiet corner, enjoying a nice sunny view of the now leafless woods on the other side of the school parking lot across the street. I’m grateful for the holidays with no vehicles buzzing in and out of that parking lot too! 

I’m sitting on an oak office chair that’s over 110 years old, which belonged to my grandfather. It’s been cherished and kept in mint condition. It squeaks when I move, but I love that old chair, and even the squeaking. 

I’m also grateful for not being conditioned to feel obligated to go on a pursuit of junk on the day after Thanksgiving. I don't buy it for others; I don't want it either. And frankly, I hate shopping anyway. Sometimes even if it’s necessary! 

God has been so good to me. Much that I have was provided for me even before I was born, and nobody even thought of it that way. But there it was. And here it is. There is nothing I need… 

The Lord truly is my Shepherd; I shall not want. 

No black Friday craziness for me. Especially along the line of "dustables" and Cracker Barrel type trinkets made in sweat shops in China in cahoots with American companies. No!

I’ll be honest - when anybody “gifts” me with that stuff, it often gets gifted to somebody else, or maybe even just pitched. White elephant gift exchanges are fun, but often you just wind up with some other piece of junk which someone else didn’t want, to stash away that is not worth the space it takes up. 

My opinion is that there's a great need for a massive, global exorcism and deliverance from wanting stuff, especially in the USA, from hoarding and storing. Oh look! Another massive storage complex goes up a few blocks away. 

Even some of the "heirloom" stuff that's been here for decades is beginning to annoy me, because it clutters. The memories with it only go so far, and nobody else really gives a hoot about it, since they have no real connection to the people or memories I was connected to. Maybe that sounds cold, but I'm not unsentimental.

What do you do with a wedding dress from 1929, even of it was your mother’s? Or your own, for that matter, a few decades old? Sure, we have all these sentimental attachments to a lot of things. But there they are, in a closet or cedar chest. And then? 

Some things are not only sentimentally meaningful, but useful and practical. I still cook with the stainless steel pots and pans, some kitchen utensils, and even a few dishes that belonged to my Mom, other kitchen items, and even some of her serving dishes. I’m especially fond of the tin measuring cups she used for baking. I use them nearly every day. It's amazing how some useful antiques will last forever, if cared for. They are no worse for the wear half a century or more later. And I see no need to “update” them!

I’ve never seen any point in replacing things just to have new ones that are more trendy. For example square plates. The old round ones are just fine. Especially on a round kitchen table. Square plates? Not on my table!

My piano has been with me since I was very young, and it gets played just about every day. It stays in tune remarkably well, although it's well over 55. (Probably time to have the tuner come in again, come to think of it, just to keep it in shape. If I can find one in this day of A440Hz digital keyboards!) 

Every time I sit on its bench, I remember how I used to cry because I hated music theory in those early days. (Still not a favorite thing!) But it was right to do the hard thing anyway. Never regretted it. That piano was the reward for keeping up with music studies with a previous much older piano that was my grandmother’s. My folks were not wealthy, so they sacrificed to get a good quality new piano for me.

Now those are great memories.

There are antique kerosene lamps, which I keep ready with fuel, just in case of emergencies. They live on the mantle above the fireplace. I also light them occasionally for the feeling of nostalgia, usually on Christmas Eve. 

I also have tea pots which were in the family since the late 1700s. It’s true! Their prominent place as kitchen decorations simply spells “hospitality” although I seldom drink tea. It’s all about vintage ambience.

The old buffet is full of glass dishes and their little matching punch cups, used back in the day for 1950s parties. OK, those dishes are square, rectangular actually, but I’ll make an exception for their shape in this case. Because of the memories of old time baby showers, and the like, that they bring up.

My “underground studio” contains an old library table which I use every day for having coffee first thing in the morning and doing a lot of creative writing of drafts by hand. There’s also an old drawing board of some years, where I frequently do artwork… not to mention the drawing board upstairs, which belonged to a very prominent area artist and commercial illustrator, with whom my husband shared office space years ago when he did commercial art and photography.

I have the wash tub that was used when I was a baby. It’s been used to wash a dog or two since. Maybe even our daughter when she was little.

Then there’s my old rocking horse where I “rode the range” as Dale Evans or Annie Oakley before I was 5 years old! The Western scene has always featured in my life. It still does!

I believe in taking care of things that have been passed down to me. It’s a way of “honoring your father and your mother.” 

And after awhile, when you get to the point where you understand you’re not obligated to run after and possess every trendy trinket, the best gift of all is a heart full of gratitude, for having been blessed with all you need - even if it’s old and existed long before you did. 

Dear God, I bless my mess! Thank You for all of it. And its one of a kind uniqueness.