It is a glorious fall morning, cooler than usual for our neck of the woods. I am nestled in a favorite chair, savoring a steaming cup of coffee. Outside the window, dawn peeks over the trees in a smear of yellow and pink.
In minutes, sunlight stretches into the room in its familiar ribbons of gold, curling around the variegated croton in the windowsill, wrapping around the cascade of books spilling out of the bookshelf, before settling on an old photograph of my mom and dad.
Thanksgiving is just days away—a time when most people turn their thoughts toward home—and as autumn’s sun continues its dance across the room, picking out all of the things that make up my little dwelling, I am soothed by the simplicity of my possessions.
On one end of the hearth sits the old wire bottle rack I rescued from a scrap pile, now spilling over with chunks of firewood. And there’s the rusty bucket I brought home from the Ozarks, making a fine keeper of Texas pine cones these days.
Over in the corner, sprigs of eucalyptus attempt to dignify the ancient milk jug I purchased on a whim at a Mississippi remnant store. That was the same day I scooped up an old wooden box, complete with rusty handle. Its usefulness seems endless. This morning, it lends itself nicely to a pot of yellow mums.
I could carry you through all the rooms in my home, and you would see things similar to these. Old. Simple. Rough. Worn. None of my possessions are of great value. They won’t ever be hidden treasures discovered by future generations, nor drooled over by antique appraisers. Yet it is their plainness, their lack of frills, and their aged appearance that charm me so.
Several years ago, while searching for that perfect something to fill a barren spot just beyond my entry hall, I haunted vintage stores and antique shops, hoping something would catch my eye.
One afternoon, a young woman, seeking to be helpful, showed me a small mahogany table. While it appeared lovely to look upon, it seemed much too perfect, much too ornate to fit among my ordinary furnishings. So, I kept looking.
I drove by a neighborhood tag sale one morning and spotted a blanket chest—scuffed and flawed and very old. Perfect! Plunking down $20, I lugged it home and filled it with enough quilts and blankets to keep my family warm all winter.
When looking at the medley of things I have collected through the years, I am struck by the thought that my home is mostly filled with objects that have been cast out by others. I suppose I should feel a bit miffed about that, but, oddly enough, I find great solace in being surrounded by things with a history.
People often stop in and admire my home. They say things like, “Your house feels so—so warm and cozy.” And I think how lucky I am. Warm. Cozy. That is precisely what a home should feel like.