Bob and I on our way to rescue another piece of furniture!
One of my favorite places to go is our local food pantry.  They take donations of household, clothing, and furniture which in turn are placed into a resale shop for public purchase. The proceeds of such purchases help procure food for boxes given to the needy.  I shop almost exclusively at this wild trove for my clothing and household items; I love the challenge and occasional Eureka! treasure find.

My favorite items to purchase, the ones I find difficult to walk away from or regret not bringing home, tend to be vintage kitchenware and handmade tablecloths or quilts.  Whenever I pick a piece up, I caress the hours of work and love that went into the fabric or talent of design and the subsequent sadness of such beauty tossed in a give-a-way bag. In my more crass moods, I imagine a handmade piece set aside for a more modern manufactured linen from Pottery Barn.  In my melancholy moods, I envision the memory of whence the piece came or the hands that used it forgotten, finding its way to the the place of last resort. When I find such beauty, I stare lovingly at the stitches and art within each needle point or intricately woven yarn; the well-worn hand spots or smoothness of wear.  Many of these grace my everyday furniture and kitchen.

I consider myself a curator and rescuer of housewifery crafts.  I currently am the proud owner of 5 flour sifters, of which I do indeed use on a regular basis.  Match that with a fantastic cook book [Mrs. Appleyards Kitchen] I know now to sift a minimum of 3x.  Why does that matter in our fast paced 'pop-a-biscuit' tubes?  Well, the proof is in the warm, delicate scones that came out of my oven fresh and hot this morning, Thank you very much random person discarding 'old-fashioned' kitchen stuff and Mrs. Appleyard.  My coffee never had such a great partner.

It matters because we are losing muscle memory of what it means to be humane persons who are not automated, not machines, but real, soulful, created beings.  When I make a sandwich for my son, who is fully capable of making an identical sandwich, in the same kitchen at the same time, we both understand there is something etherial about my doing it for him from a spirit of devotion and service;  it tastes better, richer, and provides more nourishment than simple calories and vitamins.  It feeds both of our souls.  Sending a son off to school with [an entire batch] of steaming, golden scones wrapped in a cloth napkin fills his body with warmth, his car with fragrance and his heart with love.  It fills me with satisfaction and desire to do more.

The same can be said for many other talents.  Might one not be a natural cook or baker but thrive in imaginative creativity, practicality, or oration; why, rescuing goods that pertain to any of these endeavors is just as admirable and feeds the exact same tradition and humane living.  No matter what way we look at things, we were not meant to be autobots progressing through life from point A to point B without any connection to nature, rhythms of life or especially a Creator. I saw a post a while back that was a visual study of human behavior - it tracked specific men and women walking to work in the city for a year. The monotony and repetition was striking and eerily robotic.  It makes me treasure my little existence in our neck of the woods, experiencing the ever-changing climate and magnificence of nature where I'm [hopefully] not an autobot.

I fear the same holds true for the written word and tradition.  We are collectively losing the ability to learn from others in a way that is healthy and in accord with normative tradition; that which has been studied, tried, and held throughout history.  There are those who fear tradition and norms, wishing to not only break ties with patriarchy, but smash it to unrecognizable smithereens.  What is devastatingly obvious to the rest of is that which is hated is that which is the only way to restoration of a functioning, healthy, normative, culture.  There is a certain sense of celebration of the abnormal, but what looks celebratory on the outside is in reality a cry of demand to accept disorder.  We who desire truth, goodness, and beauty; we who wish for MORE for our souls, families, and cities must be steadfast in retaining all that is being torn aside.  There is nothing new under the sun.  All who fly in the face of history are bound to repeat it.

I read the classics. I teach my sons the value of complementary sacrifice between men and women who are joined in Sacramental love.  I rescue kitchen goods and hand crafted arts. I am retaining the culture in my little household. Should we all do the same with the varied talents each is endowed with, our world would look much more joyful, content, and beautiful; and isn't that the unspoken desire of all?


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