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St. Rose Phillipine Duchesne

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Life is full of strange coincidences.  For example, this weekend I happened to end up babysitting my Korean niece (both her parents were prostrate with jet lag), and after playing Lets Go Through Aunt B’s Fabric Stash To Decide What We’re Going To Use For Doll Clothes, we decided to go hunting for acorns.  While we were peering at the ground under the oak tree at the far end of our row of town houses, our neighbor who lives in the next house down came out.  She is a great fan of our family, and has been enormously kind to us on various occasions, including letting us use her lovely house as a film set.

I introduced her to my niece, and said that we were hunting acorns.  She said that she had a lot of acorns over under her tree, and would we like some of them, and oh, by the way, she had this piece of furniture that needed a home, and would I like to see it?  I asked what kind of furniture it was, but did not get an answer.  I agreed to come in anyway, partly from politeness, and partly because in a family as large as mine, someone has a need for just about anything.  She led me into her dining room, showed me the most beautiful china cabinet, just standing there all empty, and asked me if I would like to have it.

Friends, I would.  It was so beautiful, and exactly what I had been looking for without realizing it.  You see, I have dishes.  Lots of dishes.  There’s the Fiestaware (currently mostly in the basement), and my grandmother’s Haviland china, and the random assortment of dishes I use everyday, and some bits of blue Chinese riceware (also in the basement), and random serving dishes of various kinds.  And then there’s the many, many pieces of my own china, which I saw in a thrift shop one day years ago, promptly fell in love with, and have been collecting ever since.  (Well, Mariah has collected a fair bit on my behalf too.)

So far what isn’t in the basement has been stashed in various places around the dining room and kitchen, where it tends to get pretty dusty and dirty in between uses.  I’ve been trying to brainstorm better storage options, but so far most of them involved either massive shopping sprees at Ikea, or building my own furniture, both options about equally out of my reach.  I’ve got plenty of other things to figure out right now, so it had been shunted off to my Deal With Another Day list, where it looked to stay for quite a while.  And then there I was, Saturday afternoon, standing in my neighbor’s dining room as she offered me a gorgeous antique solution to my problem at a price I could absolutely afford.   It was amazing.

The only challenge remaining was to get it to my house.  I figured this would be no problem.  After all, the next day the family was gathering to celebrate Honey’s birthday.  There would be lots of hang out time before the meal as people waited for the food to be ready.  Among those with little to do would be several brothers and brothers-in-law, most of whom tend toward the fit and able-bodied type.  This should be really no problem at all.

And it wasn’t.  The hardest part was convincing Cuthbert and 007 that yes, I was entirely serious, I was indeed asking them to take a quick jaunt to my neighbor’s to retrieve a china cabinet.  Cuthbert’s first reaction was to laugh heartily, then come give me a hug, and tell me how cute he thought I was.  I accepted the hug, and then just watched with deep enjoyment as he came to understand that, yes, I really meant it, and really, it actually was a reasonable request, and then accept fully that his afternoon now included moving furniture.

Boy-O and AP, being much more used to the whims of their sisters, did not question me at all.  Once they were on board, it was easy, and the guys entered heartily into the spirit of the thing.  All of them enthusiastically followed me over to my house, did the small rearranging that was necessary to make room for the china cabinet, and before I had time to call the neighbor lady to see if this was a good time, had gone over to her house and were knocking on her door.  Once inside, they briefly assessed the situation, and before I knew it, they had the cabinet hoisted on their shoulders, and were out the door.  I stayed a little while talking with my neighbor (after all, she had just given me a gorgeous antique).  The guys must have decided that I had stayed quite long enough, because before too long they showed up again to fetch me too.

Now I have the fun of arranging my dishes in the cabinet, and deciding what to do with all the lovely, empty shelves I now have.  It’s rather awesome.

And that is how I acquired a china cabinet.