Monday, February 18, 2008

What We can Learn From Antiques


I am a collector if things. I have to be careful because tend to get carried away with obsessive compulsive tendencies.....but nevertheless, I manage. I have a collection of old things, antiques.
Most of them family heirlooms passed from generation to generation, some worthless in monetary value, and priceless in sentiment --as well as a few vice versa. The sentimental value is, however, priceless to me- especially as I get older. I look forward to passing these family possessions and stories down to my own children.

Probably my most precious antique is the dining room suite I ate so many meals on growing up.

My Nana and GrandDad were my mother's parents, and from the time I was very small, they lived only a mile or so around the bend from the church from us. My Nana was always cooking for us. As I grew older, I suspected it was to get us to come visit often...but the food was always plentiful and good ole' home cooking. We always joked and asked for something off the wall because usually she would have so many things that is was a laughing matter. She would make everyone's favorite and then some. And she would always be running around as we were all seated, making sure that we had everything we need. As she sat down, she would always sigh and end her frantic meal-race with...."I hope it is fit to eat!". We, already inhaling the food, seated around the dining room table and spread all over the house, would only roll our eyes and say, no it was horrible and we were just eating to be nice.

After I was grown and married and my son was small, my grandparents' health started to decline. As they made the hard decision to move to assisted living, they began to clear out and clean out. Nana planned a yard sale to complete the transition. She decided to sell some of the furniture. By day 2 of the sale, many things had sold, but the dining room set had not-- but someone left their number to call if it did not and they would "take it" for some unbelievable amount, I'm sure. It was a table, six chairs, buffet and china cabinet.

We had built a new house in Guntersville recently and our own dining room sat empty because I was too picky and had not found one to suit me yet.

I thought about taking the set, but it was so old and in really bad shape, my Goodness- Nana got it in 1949 and had used it every meal since. As I went home by Nana's, I was saddened that a stranger was going to get the whole thing for a few hundred dollars. So many memories.

I looked at my empty room. I talked to my husband and said I was thinking about getting Nana's furniture. Of course, he liked the idea--- saving money I thought, typical. I told him I was just not sure if it would look good in our house and if it would go where I wanted it to fit. As we went to bed, I was still undecided.

I was working at a high school at the time and after school, I hurried to Nana's to see how the sale progressed. I was shocked to see the dining suit GONE. Well if I was undecided, I wasn't then. I wanted that suit now, especially since someone else had it. Nana said a man with a truck came by and took it for $300- Loaded it up and it was gone. I stayed a few minutes, trying not to look so disappointed and kicking myself for being so vain and materialistic and selfish and indecisive and many other horrible adjectives.

I got home and my son and I came into the kitchen and began settling in for the afternoon.

As I walked past the dining room, I stopped to ponder what could have been....And I was taken aback. The dining room was full of the most beautiful furniture I had ever seen. Albeit old, scratched, chipped and dusty...still the most beautiful I had ever seen.

The man who loaded the furniture was my husband. (One of the sweeter things he has done, I must say!)

I called a local refinisher and he picked it up the next day almost. It is breathtaking!

It now still sits in my dining room, although it has moved 2 times with me since. My brother, who bought and restored my grandparents house, swears that he gets messages from Heaven from Nana saying the furniture needs to be returned home.

Not on your life, brother.
Sometimes we think we have to have new things.
When the old things, when we take the time to care and truly see, can be the sweetest.
English Pea and Irish Potato Dumplings,
Scrabble, Hearts,
Homemade biscuits and red eye gravy,
Chocolate Pies, Strawberry Puddings,
the Christmas Story, Dominoes,
the ever present glass of Iced Tea....
That table reminds me of so many moments
Antiques are sweet reminders of days past and of people dear.
Let us not forget that.

1 comment:

Abbey Road -- said...

Oh my gosh, I LOVED that story! My grandmother was the same way ... cooked a TON, something for everybody, and I got her Duncan Fife DR suite, which I have now already passed to my own daughter. I love antiquities, but I'm a late bloomer ... I suddenly realized the value of one's own legacy. My best friend and I do a once a year antique hunt in Anniston, and also in Blue Ridge, Georgia. Bought an old farm table and found a perfect sideboard at the back in Hanna's in downtown Bham ... it's a great place and reasonably priced.

Always schweet to find common interests with my blogger friends!!