Patty’s grandmother had a thing about second-hand dishes. But, Patty’s husband loved
estate sales. So, while her grandmother’s warning gnawed at the back of her mind,
Patty’s built-in china closet groaned under the weight of beautiful sets of porcelain, once
the property of strangers.
On the phone, one day, while visiting with her cousin, Patty heard an awful crash.
“Karen, I’ll have to call you back!” she said, dropping the phone. Rushing into the dining
room, from whence the noise had arisen, Patty was dismayed to discover that the shelf in
the china closet with the latest of her husband’s acquisitions had collapsed. As she picked
through the broken bits, checking to see if even one piece of china had survived (nary a
one) she got a shock to send shivers up the back of her arms. The only thing to make it through
the crash, unscathed, was a crystal cream-and-sugar set, a gift from her grandmother.
Lying across them, an old photo of Patty’s grandmother smiled up at her, as if to say,
“Didn’t I warn you, child, not to bring a stranger’s dishes into your house?”
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