I went to Christopher Filley's to find a lantern (as Christopher's is always the best place to start when looking for lanterns.) I did, find the lantern I mean - a pair in fact - and good company as well. It would have been silly to be on the block and not stop in to see Barbara Farmer at Parrin & Co. I cannot think of a shop in town that has more beautiful table top. I marched on through the heat to Cindy Kincaid's where, in the back of the shop, a small Chinese dish painted with the most delicate pale pink flowers winked at me. There was nothing to do but bring her home. (Pink! Who would have ever thought?)
It was in Pat Posten's where lightening struck. It shouldn't have been a surprise, really, any more than one should be surprised at the flash in the sky and the boom of the thunder in the midst of a downpour. Pat's shop is chocked full of magical things. A stunning bronze ram's head, a wall of dog paintings, the most delightful black and white inlay box. As charmed as I was by her selection, I wandered out thinking, "There's nothing I need here today."
But as I neared the door I glanced down under a bench and there she was. This Chinese pottery doesn't pop up in Kansas City very often. I have a very sophisticated friend who has said, "I like it that you're collecting. I just wish you were collecting something a little... better." Perhaps it is because we have so much in common, the pottery and I. Exuberance without pedigree. (I'd like to claim cheerfulness, too, but in the middle of a very tiresome swim meet this week a good friend said, "You may need a prescription for medical marijuana. You need to relax." Cheerfulness may not be on my list of best traits.)
I had left the house looking for a lantern. I knew exactly what I wanted and needed. "Chinese jar" was not on the list. I did not expect to find one that day, but how could I refuse her? The birds on most of the jars in my collection are red. I like the black bird best as he resembles a crow, a species of which I am quite fond. But I had never seen a jar before where the bird was yellow. I wouldn't have thought I wanted yellow, yet there it was and my heart said, "Yes."