Tuesday, June 17, 2014
Today I am grateful for garage sale finds. Probably a few of you get involved with craft projects of some sort. Maybe you embroider, or sew, or work with clay, or knit, or do shrinky-dink caterpillars, I don’t know, but I’m sure a lot of you do something.
Since I retired I started painting again. The first painting I did was with my granddaughter. We set everything up in the basement and had a blast. But it was the basement. Not my location of choice. Fluorescent lights. It’s my husband’s dungeon. He even calls it that and since he’s surrounded by dragons and warlocks and all manner of creature that he’s hand-painted, it’s appropriate.
Then when I did a large painting for my son, I decided to bring the paints upstairs and set them up in the sunroom. It’s got perfect lighting and rarely sees much full sun because of its location. When I was done with the painting I put everything back in the basement. Including my heart and soul.
I was ready to put all of the furniture back in the sunroom, but my husband said, “Why don’t you make that into your artist studio?” Why? Because. Um. Because? “I don’t have any place to put the paints.” I stammered, realizing how lame it sounded.
For months we searched for the right piece of furniture. He even insisted we look at new, but that’s not what I wanted. I wanted a piece that had some nicks and stains, like me. I wanted drawers that were bumpy and lumpy and misshapen, like me. I wanted a piece that had a drop-down table, to be exposed when I’m painting and hold secrets when I wasn’t, like me. He kept saying, “How about this piece?” and I’d answer, “No, it’s not right. . . too expensive, too small, too rickety, too. . .I don’t know, it just doesn’t feel right,” I’d say. He stopped rolling his eyeballs at my weirdness years ago.
Then at a huge neighborhood garage sale I saw it. I swear it almost did a wolf-whistle at me. Two women were looking at it, examining it, touching it, remarking on the deep gouges and water stained top. It growls at them to keep their mitts off. I hovered like a mama tiger, worried they’d buy it and be gone. My husband paced, wondering why I was looking at curtains we couldn’t use, stalling. After 34 years he still doesn’t pick up on my signals so I started yammering in Indonesian. BAD Indonesian, but he picked up enough to know why we weren’t leaving. Finally, after 15 minutes of them calling people, taking pictures and assaulting the beat up beauty, I asked, “Are you ladies going to buy this piece? If you are it’s okay, but if you’re not then I think I’m interested.” They liked it but had no use for it so they passed. Graciously.
I snapped it up for $20! When I brought it home and started giving it a rub-down with Old English, I swear it spoke to me. “Ah, finally you found me! Ooooo that feels soooo good. Over here, behind the hinge, yes, yes, yes. I was wondering what took you so long.” Yeah, crazy, I know and I don’t care. We were bonding. I will never strip it (poor embarrassed thing) or rub out the rings on the desk from someone’s coffee or tea. Never. They are part of its story and I’m grateful that my garage sale find is now holding my paints and becoming part of my story, too.