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THESE FOOLISH THINGS
June 9, 2011
 
I wonder why I saved all those cookie tins. I guess I thought I'd need them. It is not to be -- what I will need is the square footage they occupy.

And why on earth did I buy two pillow covers featuring battle scenes from the Bayeux Tapestry to embroider? How long ago was that trip, anyway? It was at least fifteen years ago. Maybe twenty. One pillow cover is half completed. Well, almost half.

A pattern for a Regency dress, such as was worn in Jane Austen's time? I would never have looked like Elizabeth Bennett in it, at any age, and the very best I could hope for now would be Lady Catherine de Bourgh, which hardly seems worth the trouble, does it?

I never made a quilt out of the scraps of my old evening gowns. But there they are, in a shopping bag in a corner of my office closet. I guess it's time to move on. Still, wasn't that a cool idea? No?

I didn't make the Ukrainian Easter eggs, either -- I should have considered more thoroughly the implications of my not being Ukrainian. So I don't need the kit and booklet of instructions, then. I see they're written in Ukrainian.

I never made the cats special shrimp-flavored cookies baked in the shape of fish with the cookie cutter someone gave me especially for that purpose. Nor did I ever bake Halloween cookies in the shape of bats. I have never used the two copper chafing dishes, so they're probably over, too. And imagine my horror when I opened a dusty box to find two matching silver serving dishes with my mother-in-law's monogram on their lids, black with tarnish and wrapped in sheets of a New York Times that still had Gimbels ads.

Not every idea is a keeper. Ideas are like essays or the beginnings of poems: the best course for me has always been to have lots of them. Some may perish in their cradles, but some will survive and thrive, and you still have the pleasure of imagining the rest, until the time comes for them to take their places among the legion of things that just aren't going to happen. Those that never see completion -- or, some of them, even a beginning -- weren't necessarily foolish or wrong or wasteful. They were trips to places in your imagination. How could you have known in advance which was which?

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These Foolish Things

A cigarette that bears a lipstick's traces
An airline ticket to romantic places
And still my heart has wings
These foolish things remind me of you

A tinkling piano in the next apartment
Those stumblin' words that told you what my heart meant
A fairground's painted swings
These foolish things remind me of you

You came, you saw, you conquered me
When you did that to me
I knew somehow this had to be

The winds of March that make my heart a dancer
A telephone that rings but who's to answer?
Oh, how the ghost of you clings
These foolish things remind me of you

How strange, how sweet, to find you still
These things are dear to me
They seem to bring you near to me

The sigh of midnight trains in empty stations
Silk stockings thrown aside, dance invitations
Oh, how the ghost of you clings
These foolish things remind me of you.

--Words by Holt Marvell
--Music by Jack Strachey and Harry Link.
1936
Copyright © 2018 Barbara Crafton
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