Old Stuff? I Don't Think So....

New stuff isn't always the best stuff. The best stuff lasts for years....

If my readers know me at all, they know that frequently, too frequently, I suspect, I have a crazy thought and refuse to keep it to myself.  I just had one.

While rummaging through my closet yesterday I happened upon a pair of buckle-up galoshes I bought when I was living in Boston in 1976. They were last worn during the snow two January’s ago in Atlanta but remain ready for service now, today, if needed. They are not some heirloom or curiosity suitable for retirement or the trash. My Boston galoshes are part of my foul weather wardrobe today just as they were almost forty years ago; and it made me think….

What’s the oldest ‘thing’ you own that you still consider of use today?

For the cooks who might be my readers, I suspect there’s an old skillet or wooden spoon that has been in use since you set up house or maybe it was handed down from a grandparent. These things count. Go find them and acknowledge their usefulness by making cornbread or stirring your porridge. I know a great cook from western Virginia who claims to use her great grandmother’s rolling pin. I suspect the biscuits are divine. Old things aren’t better necessarily, but a good old kitchen appliance, big or small, can almost tell you when you’re about to add too much salt. 

For the guys, it may be yard tools. Not the motorized ones, they tend to die early deaths. But the old rake or that axe you use twice yearly; those are the sort of implements I’m talking about. Some things you might have ‘borrowed’ from your Dad when you rented your first house. How many houses since? How many times have those loppers been hung in a different garage only to come back to life with spring pruning in a new yard? 

Honestly, I considered nominating the laundry bag I took to Athens Y Camp in sixth grade. “Little Count Raoul” is still written in faded marker across the side in block letters that my steady handed Mom surely applied. But this laundry bag, though still in the linen closet, is no longer used so I guess it does not count.  Maybe I’ll fill it with workout clothes later in the week just to reclaim its place in the ‘ancient thing’ lineup. Would that be cheating?

I’d like to get back to those galoshes. They are pictured here and I want you to appreciate their design. Strong rubber with easy to handle snaps that go up pretty high. Many of us have fallen to the fleece lined boots with long, long bootlaces that keep you warm and dry.

But what do you do when you’ve reached your destination and the foul weather gear comes off?  Walk around in your socks? Or worse, do you carry fashionable indoor shoes in some bag through the snow? Not with my galoshes. These bad boys are designed for fitting your foot and your shoe. Slip your saddle-bit Gucci’s right on in there and walk thru the deepest puddle like it’s a summer morning.  My favorite inside shoe to wear with my rubbers is my bedroom slippers.  I swear, I’ve been in two hour snowball fights on Park Ave., producing bruises and blood, all while wearing fuzzy slippers inside my snap-up galoshes. If your feet are happy and warm, you are happy and warm.

So, what have you got? I’d like to hear back from you. Share with your friends and family. I bet my friend Oby has a saddle or bridle that’s been cinched to a dozen different horses. Keeping old things part of our lives helps anchor us to our heritage. I think that’s good. 

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Meg Dure January 29, 2013 at 05:00 PM
Count, I don't have to tell you how much I love this column. My list of old faves is a long one. From my iron skillets , pastry blender, biscuit cutters and vintage Pyrex casserole...kitchen is loaded. And my wardrobe is sprinkled with such treasures as Meme's black cashmere coat, sable fur scarf, etc.
OBY DUPREE January 29, 2013 at 06:36 PM
Count.....I'VE GOT IT! It's the little pine shed that my great grandmother had in five points off Cherokee Ave. and used it for her bottle and key collections. Of course I have some of the bottles and keys.Most of the Wellmans and Magills do, as do lots of friends that used to go to "Mother Carroll's house. However, two years ago I found out "the bottle house" was to be torn down and of course I had it moved to "The farm". It's needing a new roof badly, but has a lot of character. My grandfather Daniel Hamilton Magill, the first editor of the Athens Banner Herald built it. It has my cousin Ham Magill's, my bother Tom's and my brother Walter Wellman's initials carved in it! Top that!
Mark McKinnon January 31, 2013 at 01:51 AM
Well, I don't have those black galoshes, but I sure remember well enough. Gawd those things were ugly. I've still got my pop's Kilt


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