Wednesday, April 25, 2007

why I like antiques I

I remember the first time I drove into the driveway of the big parsonage at my first church in Vienna, South Dakota. I was the last car in a caravan hauling all of my belongings from Minneapolis, and as I drove up there were at least 50 people standing in the front yard, waiting for me. They got everything unpacked and in the house in record time, and served sloppy joes (known in South Dakota as "barbecues") and lemonade besides. As everyone left that evening, I heard one of the men say something about me living in "that big house all by myself." And I didn't have much furniture either.

And I didn't have much money either. So I started shopping at antique stores. There were two advantages: I could get better furniture at a lower price, and I could pay a third down and wait until I had the rest. So I got an old dresser, a rocking chair, eventually even a desk. I also found a few old kitchen supplies (remember glass pyrex refrigerator containers?) and decorations.

I enjoyed looking for antiques as well because I often found things I remembered from growing up. Suddenly, those things had become valuable. My aunt's Fiestaware, which I loved for its bright colors, had become a treasure. Multi-colored pyrex mixing bowls, my grandmother's juice glasses (rare), aluminum iced-tea glasses: all were lovingly displayed as if they were not ordinary kitchen ware, but something dug up on an archeological expedition.

Depression glass is a great example. Oftentimes it was a premium. It came free with the purchase of something else. Now there are depression glass bowls worth $100 or more.

There's something gracious -- and hopeful to me in this. Especially in our time when it's so easy to throw things away when we are done. The idea that as things age, they may increase in value: that is a wonderful thing to believe. Because I think that now it's more common to believe that things (and people) become useless as they age, not more valuable.

I think that heaven is God's antique store -- and there we will all be displayed, we will be seen as the treasures we are in God's eyes. He'll blow the dust off us, tell us we're beautiful, and actually use us -- even if we aren't in mint condition.

1 comment:

kim said...

Heaven is God's antique store...I really love what you wrote about that.

I, too, think that in this country we are too quick to discard anything "old" and replace it with "shiny and new." TPT had a series some years back: The Lost Twin Cities (or something like that), and it was basically about all of the old buildings in our area that are no longer around. Incredible architecture that just is not to be found anymore. All gone. And the glass fridge containers, depression glass, Fiestaware, etc., all bring back happy memories of when I was a carefree kid. I guess that's why we like the things we do; because we like the way they make us feel.

And I like the way you spiffed up your page!