So it became quite apparent last week that I had a … an … well, some exuberant types might just call it a hobby that has gotten out of hand. I’m not sure how this “hobby” turned so quickly into an addiction, but well, let’s just say I’ve gotten back onto firm ground.
Maybe the seeds of addiction were actually planted when I was in third or fourth grade. My brothers and sisters and I were “walkers,” as opposed to the many schoolmates at Our Lady of the Greenwood who stood in line after school to ride the bus home.
Mapquest says it was .54 mile and takes 12 minutes to walk it; but Mapquest doesn’t know the shortcuts through the neighborhood, behind Wilgro Shopping Center and the school boundary next to Craig Park. I’d estimate closer to .3 mile and a six-minute walk tops, unless I had a test the first thing that morning, then it would definitely be a 30-minute saunter.
The five of us seven eldest school children would often walk to school with four of the Williams girls and sing rounds like the Australian nursery rhyme “Kookaburra.” Oh, you know it don’t you?
Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree
Merry, merry king of the bush is he
Laugh, Kookaburra! Laugh, Kookaburra!
Gay your life must be
Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree
Eating all the gum drops he can see
Stop, Kookaburra! Stop, Kookaburra!
Leave some there for me
Anyway, after school I’d inevitably walk home with my younger siblings Kevin or Jerri, and every few weeks or so we’d find treasures that were thrown out behind the Standard Grocery Store or Danners Variety Store, which was then located in the Wilgro Shopping Center.
Huge cardboard boxes that we dragged home were repurposed into a playhouse — complete with cut-out flap windows that could open and close and drapes made from mom’s fabric pile. The artwork in the home was impeccably drawn with a multitude of crayons taking days to complete.
On occasion we’d find a metal store display in the dumpster; and, after exclaiming, “I can’t believe they’re throwing this away,” we’d somehow work together as a team and lug it home. If the 5-foot metal treasure was too outlandish, Mom could hear us coming by the scraping sound of metal on our concrete sidewalk and remind us that we were going to have to lug it back to where we found it when we were done with it.
So that’s where the addiction started but had lain dormant for many years until I accidentally started frequenting Christy’s Auction and Salvage Sisters Antique Market in Franklin.
Then my horrible, awful daughter Alex introduced me to the online EBTH auction (Everything But The House). We bought a needed bookcase, but days later I somehow bid on a Henri Studio red Japanese cantilevered lantern — it was only $30 when I first bid, and I thought I might like it. I did my homework and found the 4-foot ones are upward of $400 when new.
When I bid $60, no one else bid higher for 24 hours, and I started to panic. Did I really want this thing? Was it ugly? Would it even fit aesthetically in my garden? Oh my goodness, it weighs 400 pounds?
At this point I told Aly what I’d done, and she supportively laughed at my buyer’s remorse, declaring, “Mom, that is totally ugly.” As the auction deadline began to close, I continued to whisper under my breath, “Please somebody bid on this thing.”
In the final minutes, a bidding war began, and the red, 400-pound garden lantern went to some nice garden where it will fit. I breathed a sigh of relief and learned a lesson that my mom taught me years ago: “Don’t drag it home if you can’t lug it back when you’re done with it.”