Resale Therapy

I confess. I have a soft spot for thrift stores, particularly those that support local non-profits. So it only follows that not one, but two thrift stores appear in my novel Taking Root.

You know the saying “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure”? I was thinking about that the other day when I pulled our old pizza pan out of the cupboard. It seems like I’ve had this forever. I picked it up at a garage sale ages ago for a dime. If something made out of aluminum could qualify as “antique” this would be it. Already well-grooved from a heavy-handed pizza cutter when I bought it, I’ve added my own furrows over the years since. If you held it up to the light at the right angle, you’d see a brilliant starburst of lines radiating out from the center.

In thrift stores, I often wonder about the history of things and their former owners; empty picture frames, teapots bearing the stain of many cups brewed (and the conversations over those cups), old black-and-white photographs with scalloped edges, a pearl necklace, vintage casserole dishes (and what was served from them), a pair of crutches.

Passing by an old barn the other day, I noticed a yard sale sign out front. I don’t want to go all anthropomorphic on you, but my car turned in of its own accord. It knows. I’m not a hoarder, not by any stretch. Let’s get that out of the way, but I do sometimes wish I had the discipline of one certain friend who, every time she buys a new sweater, say, it’s to replace one she already has but no longer wears. Out with the old, in with the new. As for myself, I try to keep the scale of donations versus purchases loosely in balance.

Inside the barn I spotted this small ceramic dish. The acorns had been hand-painted—the brush strokes were evident, but there was no indication by whom—no signature and nothing on the bottom. Well, nobody had to smack me upside the head. Clearly, it was crying out for a little space in a hutch on an old chicken farm that happens to have a heritage oak tree on the property. The rest is history (or will be).

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