Saturday, June 11, 2011


It's only midday and I already have something to be happy about.

There is an event in Belleville today - deep into Belleville proper, where payday loan stores and minimarts abound - called Rummagepalooza.  The name drew me in.  I'll admit to being lured by the 'palooza suffix.  But, sadly, it didn't measure up to its name.  In retrospect, maybe it should have been called some-people-selling-stuff-in-a-parking-lot.

But wait!  I found something excellent at the Rummagepalooza!

It is a handmade piece of furniture.  The artisan, Mr. Rutherford, is part of our greater Signal Hill community.  His kids graduated from our local school within the last few years.  He has a regular job, I suppose, and this 'palooza business is just a side gig.

His hobby is turning reclaimed wood into furniture.  The wood used for today's offerings was first a privacy fence in Troy, Illinois.  (Obviously, it was first a tree and then a privacy fence.)  Mr. Rutherford reclaimed it (by "reclaimed" I think he means "garbage picked") and turned it into this pretty and practical sideboard.

The experience of finding, buying, and using this piece makes me happy.

First, it is the exact piece of furniture I needed for this bathroom.  It replaces a cheesy, laminated cubby thing from Target.  It fits the space perfectly and offers precisely the right amount of storage.

Second, it was only $100 and fit comfortably into my Explorer without displacing any of the children I had riding with me.

Third, it was up-cycled by a local craftsman.  These are both good things for the Earth -- fewer raw materials used, less gas used for transportation, blah blah blah.

Finally, it has a good vibe.  You see, after I babbled to Mr. Rutherford about the beauty of repurposed, reclaimed materials, the importance of home decor, and the fact that I only had $5 left in my wallet, he said, "Well, it's really just my favorite thing to do."  And I was dismissed.

To spend our time doing what we love to do while avoiding further damage to the Earth and making a few bucks along the way... I think that is one reliable recipe for happiness.


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