Dan and I believe in the movement of things. We don’t keep things around the house that we no longer use or like. Once something starts gathering dust, it’s off to the curb to become a lucky find for some passerby. We live on a busy street where absolutely anything that we put on the curb will find a new home within a few hours. Sometimes we get to meet the person who stops, help them load the object into their vehicle, and hear an interesting story about their lives and the circumstances that made this particular thing a welcome, serendipitous discovery.
It also offers a chance to teach our son how to let go of stuff, and not to let it become something overly valued in his life. We tell him, “Now that you are too big for this tricycle, we can give it to another baby to enjoy.” He seems to have internalized this lesson, especially after the day that we made a serendipitous find of our own. Driving home from school one day, Danny spotted a toy lawnmower conspicuously placed at the curb. “I wish I could have one of those someday,” he said wistfully. “You can have that one,” I told him. We turned around to go get it, and I could see the understanding dawning on his face as to why we put things on the curb. Because someone else who needs or will enjoy it is free to take it. That lawnmower is now one of his favorite toys.
But there is one, and only one, piece of furniture in our home that I can’t imagine ever kicking to the curb.
Many years ago, a dusty aluminum wine rack with a fake wood top caught Dan’s eye in a second-hand store. He brought it home, spray-painted it black to look like iron, and replaced the top with a natural edge slab of walnut. He presented it to me on my birthday, which is in November, and vowed to fill it with wine as a Christmas present.
These days it is rarely filled with wine, and even rarely has a single wine bottle at all (we tend to drink wine as soon as be buy it). But even so, to me, it’s a thing of exceptional beauty. Maybe it’s the contrast between the cold, matte “iron” and the warm, glowy walnut. Maybe it’s the entertainment value of watching the cat try to climb through the empty wine-holder rings like a jungle gym. Maybe it’s the way the few pretty treasures I display on top are often joined by Danny’s small toys in an eclectic still-life.
Probably it’s because it was the very best kind of gift … thoughtful, personal, hand-made, lasting.
Dan and I tell each other that if we ever move from this 100-year-old American four-square to a timber frame home of our own, that wine rack may be the only piece of furniture we’ll take with us.