"It's as if a great bird lives inside the stone of our days and since no sculptor can free it, it has to wait for the elements to wear us down, till it is free to fly." Mark Nepo

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Love in Yellow Pottery

Tired, happy and overflowing with the day - over seven hours of wandering through hundreds of antique booths with my brother - I spotted the vase as though the sun had just broken through clouds, and made a bee-line for it.

Not only was it the particular bright and happy yellow that says American pottery, in this case McCoy, but it was a lovely shape and had birds on the front. I started collecting these affordable and deeply satisfying pieces on a winter excursion to an antique store when the only sunshine to be had was in the form of a golden receptacle for flowers. This vase was the most amazing piece I'd seen so far.

Mark stood back as I carefully picked it up and examined it for flaws and found only the perfection of a simple household object whose sole purpose is to hold color and joy. Only then did I check for the price, confident after a successful day of negotiating lower prices for the treasures we'd acquired, that I'd be able to work the same magic here. Mark is a skilled antiquer, and I'm a quick study. His easy smiling way of approaching vendors with, "Is this your best price?" worked every single time. I had enjoyed watching him engage in the dance of the deal all day, admiring the pleasure he created in the interaction. And I'd been practicing with pleasure and success myself.

I cradled the vase as a weary middle-aged woman whose conversation with a friend we were interrupting approached and I smiled up at her hopefully. "Is this your best price?"

"Yes, it is. I've already marked it as low as I can. It's a fair price for a vase in that condition."

The price was higher than I felt right paying, although I told Mark as we walked away I might have allowed myself the luxury of the vase if she'd come down even $5.00. I looked back at what I'd already begun to consider my vase several times as we made the turn for the last aisle of the show. We stopped at the booth again on our way out while I pondered whether I could somehow justify spending $45.00 on a vase I didn't need at a time when I'm not earning any money.

I walked away again. We pushed through the doors into the late afternoon heat, arms aching and full of treasures we'd both found, my head full of the vase. Should I go back? Would I regret not buying it? Was I being silly to want it so much?  We decided to wander one last aisle of booths outside on our way to the car, tired enough that our shopping had become cursory, but treasure hunters enough we weren't willing to leave just yet.

I spotted its glow on a table in a tent that looked more garage sale than antique display. My vase. Same shape. Same birds. Same heart-singing yellow.

My hands trembled a little as I examined it for chips or cracks. Nothing. Dirt and grime, but no flaws. And no price. I carried it to the two men sitting in a corner talking about man things, waited for a break in their conversation and made a joke about the vase probably not being free although it had no tag. The guy in charge took the vase from my hands, turned it over a couple of times in his hands and then said, "Would $20.00 be okay?"

My beaming, enthusiastic reaction startled him, and he might even have backed up a step. I wanted to hug him, but didn't. I just thanked him repeatedly as he wrapped my new treasure and handed it to me with a bemused and slightly befuddled smile.

As Mark and I left the tent, my step light, my heart soaring, I reveled in the miracles we'd just been blessed with. The day itself was a miracle - happy hours spent with a beloved sibling whose company has become one of my greatest pleasures. The brain-tickling joy of learning about the Victorian era through their silver and porcelain - sardine forks, cheese scoops, chocolate pots. The unrestrained fun of interacting with people who found joy in the sharing of their wares with treasure hunters.

And this final, unexpected miracle gift of a wish granted for no other reason than to show me it's possible to want and receive, that abundance exists in surprising places, that love glows sunny yellow. I have the vase now to help me remember in winter.


Janna Qualman said...

A perfect day.

And a perfect moment, when some small gift tells you you're loved, and that you're honored. Those are small testimonies that come to mean so much.

Niki said...

It was meant to be yours...and I've just put together an arrangement from our garden, which is identical to yours, except for the daisy...!

patti said...

Oh, Catbird, HOW COOL! Sigh. I often hold objects, ponder, as you did, but don't often have a bargain price offered.

Praise God for this special moment--and enjoy!

M said...

So perfect...your writing, the "gift" of the vase, our day together!

I love you

Wanda said...

I love it when things turn out this way!

Piecefulafternoon said...

A lovely remembrance of your day with your brother. I miss my brothers so much and am happy to hear of someone spending some special time together while you still have time.

Carrie Link said...

"And this final, unexpected miracle gift of a wish granted for no other reason than to show me it's possible to want and receive, that abundance exists in surprising places, that love glows sunny yellow."

Love this!

California Girl said...

found you via Old? Who? Me?. What a nice story and what a very lucky, some might even say "karmic" break. How unusual to find the exact same vase twice in the same grouping of booths. It is, indeed, a lovely yellow.

kario said...

Perfectly awesome.

I am so pleased that your simple wish was validated.


Amber said...

What?! What?!! How amazing. I love love lovvvvveeee this story!! And I love your vase so much. I love bright spots of yummy yellow.


patricia said...

The vase reflects the sunny disposition that you convey to the world. You deserve the vase, because you are the vase to those who come across your path everyday. =)

Kathryn Grace said...

Your telling of this find--twice!--so like Mark's, whose blog I discovered today after seeing his tender response to your potato salad post. Instead of writing or doing any of the work I planned today, I've been reading his blog, from the beginning. And your loving comments. I am aching and full of a huge mixture of emotions and have run on past the reminder bell that tells me I should be somewhere else right now.

So much love, so much hurt, so much remorse, so much forgiveness. May you continue to be deeply blessed.

Wanda..... said...

Someone is watching out for you, Deb! Seems you and the vase were meant to be.
The Phlox and Daisies are lovely in it!

Bernie said...

Great post as usual, Deb. Sounds like your treasure hunting is a lot of fun.

I have given you another award--the Blog with Substance one. I know you already have received one but when I started to make my list of 10 it had to start with you and I think you are worth two of them.

Gail said...

I found you by way of Bernie. What we wish for will come.

Barb said...

I'm visiting you from Bernie's blog. It seems you were supposed to have that yellow prize! Good for you - enjoy!

Lilith said...

A lovely day and a lovely vase. I get to see my brother in a couple of weeks.

Tabitha Bird said...

Gosh Deb! I needed to hear that story. To want is hard enough. But to want and not get is so much harder. I like hearing that others want and get, when they are patient and willing to walk away :)

Jan said...

Hey, Deb:

What Tab said.
Want, not get, want, get. Patience, surrender.
"And this final, unexpected miracle gift of a wish granted for no other reason than to show me it's possible to want and receive, that abundance exists in surprising places, that love glows sunny yellow."

Totally what I needed to read this morning, which, of course, is why I never saw your post yesterday!


Midlife Jobhunter said...

Provided the sunshine missing in the sky. We have a large antique fair not far from here, Round Top. I used to go with my friends. Always found something at our first stop. After that, I was done. I'd find a place to sit and watch.

Haven't done that in a few years. You have made such a trip sound most inviting. Perhaps I'll have to go again this year.

Carol............. said...

What a find! A beautiful vase indeed.....I have a friend who collects McCoy cookie jars.

The vase and floral arrangement inspire a happy outlook and a glorious day.

Jerri said...

This is a WONDERFUL story. What a beautiful reminder that when it feels the Universe is saying "no," it may simply be saying "not yet."

The best is yet to come for you, dear friend.

Loren said...

What a beautiful day! and what a gift you were given in practicing your patience! So happy for you and it is so lovely!!

I came over from Bernies and am your newest follower!
Your blog is wonderful and your writing is so beautiful!
I look forward to knowing you more :)

Terri Tiffany said...

You know how to write about the simplest things and turn them into amazing art:) I think the vase is beautiful and the reasons for it even more so.

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