Sunday, May 18, 2014
I hold small dinner parties on my patio. And so long as I stick to my signature dish (ie, the only dish I can make, reliably), things move along pretty smoothly. Except for the crystal. When one fills and refills guests' glasses with wine and spirits, at some point, said glasses will hit the concrete. That's a given. A death and taxes kind of given, if your friends are any sort of fun at all.
Which is why, once or twice a year, I take in an estate sale -- a high-end estate sale -- and restock my shelves. You can easily get a set of 12 to 20 really really nice crystal glasses at a ridiculously reasonable price, usually two or three sets to choose from.
Still, if it weren't for my crystal needs, I'd avoid estate sales. They're such a wicked reminder of what you can take with you when you join the choir celestial, and that would be exactly nothing.
It's bad enough I have to join scavengers, scavengers like me, in pawing through some dead stranger's stuff. We all sort of look like the cleaning lady in the 1950's version of Scrooge. You know that scene? Where he's dead, and his cleaning lady stripped him of his best PJ's and says, "Ow gov'na, Oi 'ave 'is bed curtains too, an' you won't foind a 'ole in 'em."
But worse still is seeing the long line of people with stacks of plunder. You can't help thinking some day their plunder will be plundered, with fresh anxious grabby fingers sorting through their personal belongings, criticizing and coveting.
So I don't want stuff, and never stray from my estate sale-mission, never get sucked into collections of ceramic toads or 18-century picnic baskets. Actually, I'd be happy enough to decorate my table with IKEA glasses, were it not for my friends. What can I say -- my friends are high maintenance, but worth every farthing.