Back in September, I started a series called "What Not to Buy New," in which I talk about the categories of things that we ought to buy used or vintage. You can read Part One here.
Today's post is Part Two, about collectibles. Some of us collect quirky things, don't we? I bet you can remember with pride each time you found a piece to add to your collection. I doubt I need to encourage you to hunt for your collectibles in vintage and antique shops.
So never mind the lecture. Let's have some fun. Today, I'd like to tell you why I collect chickens (see photograph above). I can lay the finger of blame on Betty MacDonald who wrote the humorous memoir, The Egg and I. Published in 1945, it hilariously describes her life married to a chicken farmer in the late 1920s.
Before we had kids, I would torture my husband on car trips by reading passages aloud, or trying to anyway. Piglike snorts of laughter would sneak into my throat and no matter how I tried to calm myself, I'd become a jiggling convulsed mess of tears and guffaws that in no way enhanced my natural beauty.
Here are some samples of Betty's take on farm life in the Pacific Northwest.
On a farmer's mealtimes: "We had breakfast at five in the morning and dinner at five in the evening. Seven and seven would have been bearable, eight and eight enjoyable, and nine and nine divine, but five and five it was, and I always felt that those meals were like premature babies and lacked the finishing touches."
On a rooster's attitude: "The rooster is something else. He doesn't give a damn if you take every egg in the place and play handball. He doesn't care if the chicken house is knee-deep in weasels and blood. He just flicks a speck from his lapel and continues to stroll around, stepping daintily over the lifeless but still warm body of a former mistress, his lustful eye appraising the leg and breast of another conquest."
On waking up early: "One of the worst chuckholes was getting up at four o'clock in the morning. I got used to it but I felt so strongly about it that many mornings I wondered aloud if I would have married Bob if I had known that this went along with him. He used to laugh at me and swear that he told me, but I think it as unlikely as to have courted me with, 'and another wonderful thing, dearest, an old prostitute friend of mine is going to live with us.'"
On falling flat on her face while hauling wood: "I learned the inadequacy of 'Oh, Dear!' and 'My goodness!' and the full self-satisfying savor of sonofabitch and bastard rolled around on the tongue.
On taking a rare respite from chores when her husband went into town: "Some Saturday mornings, as soon as the mountains had blotted up the last cheerful sound of Bob and the truck, I, feeling like a cross between a boll weevil and a slut, took a large cup of coffee, a hot water bottle, a cigarette and a magazine and went back to bed. Then, from six-thirty until nine or so, I luxuriated in breaking the old mountain tradition that a decent woman is in bed only between the hours of 7 p.m. and 4 a.m. unless she is in labor or dead."
On her fear of gathering eggs: "Gathering eggs would be like one continual Easter morning if the hens would just be obliging and get off the nests. Cooperation, however, is not a chickenly characteristic. And so at egg-gathering time every nest was overflowing with hen, feet planted, and a shoot-if-you-must-this-old-grey-head look in her eye. I made all manner of futile attempts to dislodge her -- sharp sticks, flapping apron, loud scary noises, lure of mash and grain -- but she would merely set her mouth, clutch her eggs under her and dare me."
Isn't Betty MacDonald the living end?! Did you know, she also wrote the Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle books. She is an irreverent wise acre and I envy her droll writing style. If she was alive, I would sit at her knee and await the paroxysms of laughter.
One more thing before I leave you to enjoy your weekend -- might you like to receive an email from me every Friday? Full of good humor and interesting links? If you might, leave your email below.