I write about the uncommon aspects of common things. I write about gratitude and beauty. I write about awareness of the imperceptible in the cacophony of daily life. I write about how we change, and shift in our perceptions based upon experience – and by experience I mean wisdom earned.
It is the creation by hand of something long lasting that inspires me most, and even the remnants of those long ago handcrafted items which wash ashore as bits of sea glass, or are found in archeological digs (which sounds so much more impressive than rubbish tips or garbage dumps of our distant ancestors). The shift I want to write about today is more than 30 years in the making (for myself). Humankind has drunk from glass vessels for some 3500 years, the first known examples coming from ancient Mesopotamia – now Syria; let the sadness of the destruction of their civil war and ISIS and so forth spill forth just as wine spilled from a broken stem of your grandmothers.
In my twenties I aspired to own a suite of full lead, hand cut crystal in a pattern called Tyrone from Waterford. My mother made it plain that no one in our family would purchase it for my wedding (though later she had to have their Lismore pattern), but my mother-in-law, Marcia, was of a different mindset. At the time the stems were $31 – $33 and not only did my ex-husband and I receive some for wedding gifts but for Christmas and birthdays thereafter Marcia made sure this was my gift. Ultimately the cupboard held 6 each of Champagne flutes, red wines, and water goblets. I loved everything about them – including that they were special order only and had to wait six months to arrive. They are still gorgeous, and perfect, and have held some very memorable beverages and experiences.
On an entirely different end of the drinking vessel spectrum I also love (Great) Depression Era petroleum glass – the green. At a time when the world economy was reeling from the stock market crashing, drought, and massive unemployment, and the global social malaise that would propel all of us into World War II, movie theatres (and others) in the United States of my parents youth gave out premiums in the form of this glassware – pitchers, cake plates, dishes, cups, vases and drinking glasses. I can’t recall when I first became aware of the glasses, though both grandmothers had cake plates with the sunflower (or daisy) embossed on them, but about the same time as the Waterford was trickling into my consciousness and then my life so too were optic swirled green glasses. At less than a $1 a piece at estate sales and antique shops and with a history of 50+ years of service behind them I was enchanted – and they came home to be used, not just admired. Yesterday morning I opened a box recently arrived from eBay with 11 of the largest of these I have ever acquired, and delighted would be an understatement as with the shipping each hand blown beauty cost less that $2.75. I washed them. I took a picture. I put them next to the other odd green glasses in the kitchen cupboard and truth be told I was ridiculously happy. I discovered that the short ones hold the same volume as the Waterford Tyrone water goblets, at which point I did an online search and discovered that these now sell for $200 a piece – so I washed those, photographed them, wrapped them in the materials used to send the green glasses to me and then I listed them on eBay.
A Martini will taste just as lovely in the short versions of my new, very old, glasses as they did in my Waterford goblets. Wisdom doesn’t preclude an appreciation for the rare and exquisitely crafted, but it certainly embraces when it is time to let go and buy some good gin with the proceeds. 😉
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