a berry box

Just two miles down the road, there is an antiques store with 9,000 square feet jam-packed with assorted, once-loved-and-just-waiting-to-be-again treasures. Unfortunately, most days, I have too many things on my to-do list to dare enter. At least, I know myself well enough not to risk it… because once inside, the item I came in search of is quickly relegated to the back corners of my mind, and I’m overcome with sentimentality and a slowed-down-like-molasses pace. I notice the kitchen canisters just like Gram’s, the beautiful turn-of-the-century (20th — not 21st!) china cabinets similar to Grandma’s, aluminum tumblers like the colorful ones I used at my great-grandmother’s house, the Barbie case like my mom’s that I played with, too… and then my like-minded Molly is pointing out a typewriter or nut grinder that she would just loooovvve to have, “Pleeaasse!”, and begging to go in the back room to try on 60’s-mod clothes, pointing out flowery, hippie luggage “just like Granny’s!” on her way.

Sometimes we do enter with a purpose and walk out (albeit an hour later with a VERY bored 10-year-old boy in tow), mission accomplished. When I was looking for a “new” (to us, ha ha!) vintage wooden box to stack atop the one already by Molly’s bed for the accommodation of all those things that “must” be kept beside the bed, we found something exactly right for our dried fruit-loving daughter, for whom we’ve been buying Craisins by the 3-pound bag since she was about three years old.

ImageThis old cranberry crate from Wisconsin would have been in use in the early to middle parts of the last century when, according to Wikipedia, cranberry farmers in our neighboring state formed cooperatives under which to sell and distribute their fruit, which was marketed under the brand of Eatmor. Eatmor Cranberries eventually folded under intense competition with Ocean Spray, a company which was canning most of the cranberries they sourced, unlike Eatmor, which was selling the fresh berries.

Learning a tidbit of the company’s history just endears that box to Molly and me a little more, lovers of the fresh and homemade and farmers, too, that we are. Hopefully, those scraps of labeling will continue to adhere for many more years, reminding us that while some seemingly big things come to pass, it’s oftentimes the little things that endure.


happy hearts


It was a “Red Out” day at school yesterday… the rare day when kids may donate $1 each for a selected charity (the American Heart Association on Valentine’s Day) for the privilege of wearing something other than their uniforms — this time, a red or white shirt and jeans. Right after Mass, the 7th & 8th grades departed school for an outing to the bowling alley. Finn, lamenting that “The 6th, 7th, and 8th graders get to do everything fun!” remained at school for classes and a traditional room party.

Finn wasn’t as excited as his mama about the idea of making homemade Valentines, but I (think) I convinced him that they are almost always the favorites. When he told a classmate a couple days before the holiday what his Valentines were going to say, the friend said, “That’s awesome!” When he brought home the sack of Valentines he’d been given yesterday, Finn said, “Everyone loved my Valentines, Mom!”, and he pointed out the ones he especially liked: a Twinkie transformed into a Minion and a homemade card that said, “Our class would knot be the same without you,” which came with a friendship bracelet.

February 20143

Shane treated me to lunch at a new Mediterranean restaurant in town and brought home beautiful flowers & a carved wood heart, plus treats for dessert. At the kids’ request, I made lasagna for dinner (something I only do about once a year). Shane and I capped off the evening with a couple episodes of “Lark Rise to Candleford.” I’m very happy to say that many days in this life are as good as this one was, but it’s always fun to dress in pink & red, exchange acknowledgements of our love, and celebrate being a family.

Hope yours was a day just as sweet!