So John and I went to our town’s thrift shop, as we habitually do on the weekends. This Saturday they were having a Christmas sale: ornaments and decorations galore. Best place to shop for anything. You can always find something. I snapped up a Hess race car for the grandson and a brand new cellophane wrapped notebook for one of the Bad Girl’s Bags that I periodically offer in my contest on my website. John wandered around looking for luggage and ties. I felt we’d already struck gold.
And then I saw it. It was on a lower endcap shelf right opposite the check-out counter. About a foot and a little tall, antique red with incised gold decorations that looked Asian, domed lid, decorative keylock and feet. Inside, a green felt lined compartment. Twenty dollars.
I wanted it. Like, right then. I saw it in my house, a point of color on a table, or the hearth. People, you will be glad to know I exercised extreme restraint. I consulted with John. He liked it too, but “what would we do with it?” We’re at the stage now that anything coming into the house has to have a definable function. We couldn’t think of any. We left without the chest. I felt very mature.
An hour after returning home, I was still trying to think of some practical purpose for “my” chest. Not easy — I hadn’t taken measurements (and I carry a mini-measuring tape in my pocketbook too), so what was the point? Research? Then it struck me: it could house our favorite CDs — the go-to music we never get tired of listening to. Genius! I posited my idea to John who sighed and said, “If you really want it that much –”
People, he went back to the thrift store and bought the chest. He is soooo one of the good guys. Once it was in our living room, we discovered CDs would not fit into the chest the way we thought. At that point, we had no clue what else the chest could be used for.
A while later, John had a super thought: the chest was a tantalus: a container for decanters. Immediately we hopped to, and brought out several decanters and tried to fit them into the chest. No luck. One was too wide, the other too tall, another too round.
Well, after some consideration we shifted a few things around and my lovely chest now sits on a table right where you enter the living room, the shot of color and exoticism I’d initially envisioned. And maybe that’s all it ever needed to be.
Have you ever forgone buying something on impulse and regretted it? Or bought something that you didn’t know what it was and what to use it for? How did you solve that problem?
Thea Devine runs a monthly contest at http://www.theadevine.com. She’s the author of 27 historical and contemporary romances, and is a Romantic Times Booklovers’ Romance Pioneer honoree. Look for “Beyond the Night,” the sequel to “The Darkest Heart,” in 2014.