I don’t want to sound like some wacko who says, “God talks to me,” but over a year ago, I heard… let’s call it an “idea”… that I should sell the ranch. It was as clear as if someone were standing in the room, talking to me. Although this had never happened before, it wasn’t scary or alarming, and in my heart, I knew it was what I needed to do. A few days later, I put the ranch up for sale; the place James and I so loved and the place where he died.
The same day I went online, looking for an old buffet to hold mother’s crystal and china; things in storage I hadn’t seen for 10 years. Of all the things to search for… That was the weird part.
Almost immediately I found an old oak buffet on 1stdibs. Without seeing anything but photographs, measurements and a description—an “Antique Louis XV Enfilade, mid-19th Century, hand-carved oak, made in Sweden’’—I bought it. My friend and neighbor, Cindy, said it was a way of confirming that I was moving forward with my life. It was the first thing I bought for a house I hadn’t seen but had accepted—on faith—I would find.
When the buffet arrived it was wrapped like a newborn babe in swaddling clothes, only this babe was wrapped in layers of bubble wrap. There wasn’t enough room to store it inside my Little House at the ranch, so the cabinet spent the winter on the back porch. Months went by and I hadn’t seen anything except where I’d cut a small slit in the the bubble wrap, taken a peek, then taped it back to protect it from the weather. A year later—when I saw this house—I knew I belonged here… and I knew where to put my cabinet. A lot of effort went into the birthing: making it fit.
First the contractors removed the uninteresting, 1980’s upper and lower built-in cabinets and original tile floor. Then they filled in the the remaining gap in the floor with self-leveling concrete, followed by wood floors that match the rest of the house. My Louis XV Enfilade fit like it was made for this space.
I love the pale, smooth Swedish oak, the round bun feet and the musty smell that’s accumulated over the last 160 years.
Last night I fixed dinner for some girlfriends; the first time I’ve entertained since I moved in. While the fixer upper process is far from over, and the dining room is surrounded with boxes for Goodwill, we used the special plates and glasses from my cabinet. No longer will I save my pretty things for special occasions.
One of the things I learned from James’s unexpected death is that all we’re guaranteed is this moment. What are you saving your good stuff for?