A woman in front of me purchased a cut-glass bowl. $20. A huge purchase at a garage sale, but she knew she'd found something. She coughed up her money, and then interrogated the gentleman selling it. "It was my grandmother's," he told her. "I'm not sure who made it, but it has to date back to 1915."
"But," she said, "there is no STAMP on this piece. I wonder if it's a Fenton. I guess, if it were a Fenton, there would be a stamp. It's probably not a Fenton."
"My grandmother would have purchased it in Philadelphia, in 1915," he reiterated. And still, on the customer went, about the lack of a Fenton stamp.
I don't know jack about Fenton. I only know that by some miracle of God, I repressed my inclination to tackle her to the ground, screaming "It was his Grandmother's! It is almost 100 years old, and you got it for the price of McDonalds-for- three. This has to be somehow painful for him! SHUT UP, just shut UP, don't you see?!!"
Yes. I sometimes have violent inclinations. I
They smiled then. "We always used it as a cheese tray when we entertained," they said, in unison. I could almost see the parties they envisioned as they spoke.
"I'd like to buy it," I told them, "but it's mismarked."
How much do they want for it, really?
"Five cents," she told me. "See? There's a chip, on this side."
The chip?!! What chip? THAT?! "That chip is what makes it charming!!" I told her.
And this beautiful older woman, in a long, summer linen dress, said...
...she said to me...
"I love you."
She smiled and said "I love imperfections, also."
For one nickel, on Saturday morning, I purchased a cheese tray with one small chip on the edge. And forever more, when I use it, I will think of this beautiful, elegant couple, and imagine summer barbecues and christmas parties, in which they set out this small pottery tray, and I will hear glasses clinking, and music and laughter.
And I will, forever more, remember an "I love you" from a complete stranger.
That, in my eyes, is worth way more than a Fenton.