If You Don’t Get What You Want You’re Winning. I Think.

A night of freezing rain has kept the tires parked in the driveway and the cookie jar safely on its shelf in the shop.

And maybe a good thing it is too.

I did a bit of peeking and poking about on eBay and Etsy and discovered the cookie jar of my childhood was made by Bartlett-Collins.

The company started way back in 1914; Bartlett was an Oklahoma oil man, while Collins is cited as being an East Coast glass man. I suppose Bartlett brought the business sense and the cash to the equation, while Colllins was the one that blew the glassware into creation.

They made an assortment of glassware ranging from kitchen lamps to stemware to cookie jars.

All kinds of cookie jars.

I came across an identical jar to the one we had, only in turquoise.

 

And then I found one in red…

 

And another in yellow…

 

You can see where this is heading, right?

To make matters worse, these days homes have cupboards that fit tight to the ceiling. Not ours. We have old-fashioned solid oak cupboards with a generous space between where the top stops and the ceiling starts. The sort of cupboards that would have HGTV bringing in sledge hammers for demo day. OR the sort of vintage cupboards perfectly suited for fitting many, many, vintage cookie jars on display along its top. It could go either way.

With all the money saved by keeping the cupboards, just think of how many cookie jars one could buy!

Ack! What’s happening to me?

This is how I suspect all collecting starts. One small unnecessary item tugs at the heart. A single innocent purchase that serves as the thin edge of the wedge. Before you know it the floodgates are pried open and one morning you stumble out to the kitchen to make coffee and realize cookie jars have taken over your life.

I don’t know if that’s a bad thing or not.

I love watching American Pickers on TV, but not just because of the bargains and finds that Mike and Frank pick up along the way. I love watching it for the collectors they meet. It fascinates me why these people collect the things they do and how that one coveted group of items can shape their entire life.

I suspect many start because of a childhood memory, like me with my cookie jar. Or it is an offshoot of a personal profession or hobby. Woodworkers collecting antique hand tools, electricians collecting glass insulators, doctors collecting old medical paraphernalia.

Once it gains a toehold, our hunter gatherer instincts kick in. It becomes less about the item itself and more about the thrill of the hunt. It’s no longer about living in the past, but a reason to get up in the future.

I remember hearing a person telling about how he collected a particular line of lenses and filters for a certain vintage camera. He spent decades stopping at every thrift shop, every antique store, every flea market, slowly adding to his collection. Finally, there was just one lens left and his collection would be complete.

One afternoon he and his wife stopped in at an antique shop, and there it was. The last lens. His wife couldn’t believe her husband’s good luck. She smiled and placed a hand over her heart, as he slowly picked it up off the shelf. She stopped smiling when he just as slowly, just as deliberately, set it back down and left the shop.

They got back in the car in silence. As the car swung onto the highway leaving the shop and the lens in its rear view mirror, she said, “I don’t understand. You’ve been looking for that lens for over 20 years. Why didn’t you buy it?”

It took him a few miles before he could find the words to answer.

“I don’t know why I didn’t buy it. I think I just…I just wanted to want it for a little bit longer,” he finally said.

I think this means you’re probably doing better at life than you might think. if you get everything you want, you might find out what you really wanted was the wanting. If you don’t get everything you want, maybe you’re really winning.

Maybe this means we should all be striving for just one good healthy slice and not the whole pie.

Maybe this explains why we get so much joy from giving and sharing, but get a bit crazy in the head when we get too much.

So does that mean I am leaving the cookie jar on the store shelf?

I don’t know. But maybe.