It’s fair to say the Carpenter and I aren’t fancy people. Our house isn’t fancy. The stuff in it isn’t fancy.
We’ve always chosen gratitude for what we have over debt for what we want, though we’ve masterfully somehow ended up with both in equal measure and still don’t have the sofa of our dreams. A house full of love and happiness was good enough (snort. As if. I really want that sofa).
Yet, there was one piece of furniture that I believed if I ever owned it would make me a grown-up: a china cabinet.
There is something so fine and sentimental for me about a china cabinet. It makes me think of my grandmothers and my mom.
I have fond memories of decorative dishes in delicate floral patterns with gold edges. Pretty teacups and saucers turned on their sides. Colourful etched glasses and sparkling crystal.
I appreciated those treasures like museum artifacts, because that’s basically what they are, artifacts of ancestry and tradition. This is as girlie as I get, but I love history, particularly living history.
But last week, I walked into the Habitat for Humanity Re-store in Fergus and came upon a cherry wood china cabinet. Love at first sight. It had an ornate top, glass doors, three shelves, inside lighting, deep drawers and detailed finishes with gold handles.
Sure, it was used and not perfect, but that just meant it would be right at home with us. It was a bargain. The money went to charity. This was destiny. I had to have it.
You think this is all about me, but it’s about us. The Carpenter has his grandmother’s collection of Royal Albert bone china, in the Winsome pattern. They are all he has of his mother’s family and while he is not exactly a fine china kinda guy, these dishes are important to him. They serve up good memories of good women in his life.
Now, these dishes would have a home where they’d be appreciated daily. This makes me happy.
We took great care to polish and clean our new china cabinet. The Carpenter carefully set his grandmother’s dishes in to place. I found our crystal ware, wedding gifts now 22 years in storage. Candle sticks. Wine glasses. The interior light set everything to shine and sparkle.
Wow, look at us.
As I set off to wash more glassware, the Carpenter added to our exhibit. He tried to stack his personal shot glass collection next to the crystal ones. Ugly. I vetoed that. Minutes later, I returned to find he added his mock skill-saw pizza cutter (I cannot make this up). Nope. Not happening.
So, when my back was turned, he snuck his autographed baseball into one of the blown glass ornate bowls.
Go ahead, ask me why we don’t have a fancy house or fancy things? I dare you.
We may be grown-ups, but we’re never going to be fancy grown-ups. I accept that. Yet, I’m happy to see those beautiful dishes in that elegant piece of second-hand furniture. It’s another way to make our house a home.
The money for that china cabinet will now help another family build a home of their own.