You can tell just by looking at the wood (and other materials) used that this bread box is VERY old, yet it has been taken very good care of. It has a tiny little ding here and there, and the inset is slightly warped, but still in far better shape than you would expect. And although most items you find at the flea market you have no idea where they came from (but often wish you did, or wish they could talk), I purchased this from a vendor that had gotten it straight from its owner.
The owner is a 98-year old woman that is devotedly taking care of her older and ailing husband! That is definitely an amazing kind of love, and one that I admire. She is also taking care of their beloved, long-time pet .... a blind dog. But sadly, she is planning on having the little dog put to sleep because it can't see where it is going and has become a tripping hazard for her. Although they love the dog very much, she fears that if she trips and falls over the dog, she might get hurt and not be able to care for her husband. I can understand it, but that is SO SAD! And I can't imagine having to make a decision like that. That dog would be a great companion and comfort for her right now. But I also can't imagine how difficult it must be, at 98, to care for both. I can't tell you how much I admire this woman, and I haven't even met her in person.
Back to the bread box .... once upon a time, they used it a LOT. Taking a moment to imagine all the wonderful homemade breads she must have lovingly placed in it over the years makes for a great mental image that makes me smile. Even at nearly 100 (and her husband is probably is at least that or more), they are obviously still deeply in love. I can envision her, in years past, lovingly standing over the kitchen table, flour and other ingredients everywhere, as she eagerly works, with a warm and caring smile on her face, to bake wonderful breads that she is sure will please her husband. I can then picture him coming in from a hard day in the field, opening up the bread box, and taking out a still warm biscuit, donut, or hunk of yeast bread, beaming ear to ear because his wife loves him so much that she worked hard in a hot kitchen to make such a wonderful treat for him, then eagerly gobbling it up! What a beautiful picture this bread box, and the little story behind it, conjures up, and I have no doubt but that it was that way.
But because the woman loves her husband so much, she is now sadly letting go of, and giving away all of their treasured things that they no longer use much. She is doing this to make their home much easier to move about in. I understand this, it makes since in a very loving way, but it is still very sad. As people age, they should not have to give up the things they cherish, the things that gave them pleasure throughout their long life. So even though we had gotten a smaller, handmade bread box just a few weeks ago, I decided that this one definitely had to find a home in our kitchen, too. You may think this sounds weird, but when I hold this box, or run my hand across it, I can literally feel the love coming from it. The kind of love this couple has is a rarity these days, and I truly admire them. Although I have no doubt that it will, I hope that when I am 98, mine and Dave's love will be that unconditional and strong as well. And although I know that ingredients used have greatly changed over the years since this woman began cooking for her husband, I look forward to proudly carrying on this woman's tradition and baking many, many wonderful breads to fill it with and have ready for Dave when he comes in famished from a hard day of work. Even those ingredients, we are striving to go back to the older, healthier style of. (Well, just don't try and take my instant yeast away from me though).
I will display this wonderful bread box PROUDLY in our kitchen, and hope that even a little bit of their rare and admiral love that comes with it, rubs off into, and gives our home a little blessing.