Bought a ticket for a runaway train
Like a madman laughin' at the rain
Little out of touch, little insane
Just easier than dealing with the pain
("Runaway Train", Soul Asylum)
Approximately seventeen or eighteen years ago, before Blaine and I got divorced, his brother and sister-in-law bought a house. And so it was planned to give them a housewarming party. I immediately set to the task of finding a wonderful housewarming gift for them.
They were very broke and so I wanted to give them a really nice gift. So I asked his sister-in-law what colors she was going to decorate her house in and when she mentioned the kitchen she said was going to decorate it in "white and green". So that gave me something to work with.
After looking at a hundred things here and there, I finally arrived at one of my favorite antique shops. And there they were. These four graduated sizes of gorgeous fluted white cannisters with handpainted green florals---and little flowers for the lid pulls! They were Italian and very old---it was a complete wonder that the four cannisters had survived the decades at all without any chips and all the tops intact.
I thought that I had found THE PERFECT GIFT! How could anyone not love them? Especially a person who loves antiques like Blaine's sister-in-law does. And they were in her desired color scheme. So I bargained a fair price for them with the dealer. They were very expensive. (But I am a ruthless "bargainer"---I learned that skill from many of the foreign countries I lived in overseas where prices are not customarily "set"---the price is usually dickered back and forth between the buyer and seller before the final price is arrived at.)
And I was so happy that I had found her what I considered a good housewarming present. I looked forward to her opening them. But deep down, actually, I wistfully realized that I loved the cannisters for myself---and was kind of sorry that I had designated them as a gift for someone else. But, with secret longing, I wrapped them up for her, already jealous that she would have these lovely cannisters for herself.
At the housewarming party she looked as though she was very happy with them. So I thought all was well.
Two days later, her husband, Blaine's brother, called me and said: "We have decided to give these back to you. We don't like them."
I was crushed.
And right after that he drove to our house and unceremoniously returned the box containing the cannisters. Blaine and I were somewhat confounded about the whole matter but we just went on, trying to forget the unpleasant incident. I was confused because I had been raised to be a lady---and I thought that a "real lady" would never do such a thing---but I just shook my head in disbelief as I stood there holding the box with the precious cannisters. I set about putting the whole matter out of my mind.
....um....except.... I must not have put it out of my subconscious because, unfortunately, those times were among my totally heavy drinking days. And later that year I did insult her in an ugly manner one time when I was three sheets to the wind blotto on vodka..
(The way it went down was due to her criticizing me about being addicted to alcohol by saying "she hated a drunk", and I promptly replied: "Oh really? Well YOU'RE addicted to cigarettes so pray tell how our addictions differ? Well I guess yours is more "acceptable" because you can't be pulled over on the highway for being under the influence of nicotine....")
(these days we're cordial...)
Anyway, that was a very long time ago. I divorced Blaine in 1997 but then, as you know, I returned to him in 2007. So, anyhoo, the other day Blaine was cleaning out the basement and.....
...he called up to me from the basement and asked if I wanted an old dusty box "with jars" in there. I went downstairs and looked into the box--- and THERE THEY WERE! And the ironic thing is that we found them while we're in the midst of re-decorating the entire house! And I haven't figured out the scheme for the dining room yet, but now I will definitely do the dining room around the colors of these lovely cannisters. (They won't go with the decor of the kitchen as it is being done in stainless steel large appliances and red small appliances, with accoutrements in both colors.)
But I can decorate the dining room in green and white if I choose and so I'll put the cannisters in there just for looks. I already have a whimsical plan for a corner in there that will look positively enchanting with these beautiful cannisters. (I'm filling them with marbles to make them heavy so that the cats can't knock them over.)
I still wonder about a couple of things, though:
1. Why in the hell did she have her husband, Blaine's brother, call me to tell me they didn't like them? Wasn't that her duty? I know she was probably uncomfortable at having to return them to me but still--- the dirty chore belonged to her. (At least that's the way I look at it.)
2. Why did she hate them? I just can't imagine anybody hating them. Who would hate such pretty antiques---no matter what color your dang kitchen is? She herself loves antiques. And another thing is that there are very few antique china cannister sets that are intact from the teens and 20's decades---especially ones in a person's preferred color scheme. (The teens and 20's were decades when handpainting china was popular among young ladies.) Don't you guys think the cannisters are lovely?
3. What's more---they totally matched her decor, in spades.
4. And for that matter---who returns gifts? Couldn't she have hidden them and only brought them out if me and Blaine went to visit? Or couldn't she have made up a white lie and said that she dropped the whole box holding them and caused them all to shatter? (That's what I would have done rather than tell the gift-giver that I hated their gift....)
Anyway, when Blaine found the box containing them, I was jubilant. I was ecstatic! It was like Christmas for me! I had never really wanted to give them up in the first place! (Sorry about all the exclamation points.)