Antiquing is pretty much the same as museuming, except you get to buy the exhibits. During my history walks through the fields and tents of Round Top I’m struck by the plethora of smoking memorabilia; tobacco silks and ashtrays and lighters and cigar boxes and pipes and such. It’s all a reminder of how successfully we’ve reduced the once stylish habit of smoking to a rather sorry process of dragging through the stick as quickly as possible while hunkered outside the service entrance in a stale winter coat trying to avoid small talk with Carl from Receivables. Heck, even our NO SMOKING signage has lost its mojo.
And while we’re on the topic, may I say that I’ve driven through most of the United States and one thing I’ve observed is this: There are still a lot of smokers in the state of Oklahoma. Now, I agree that what you’re thinking is fair. Most of my time in OK has been spent on its interstate highways, so how ’bout a look at the actual numbers. It very well may be that I haven’t been seeing a lot of smokers, just a lot of places to buy tax free cigarettes. Well here you go. It turns out that there are a lot of smokers in OK (it comes in fourth behind KY, WV & MS). So I’m going to go further out on my limb and say that I bet it’s no coincidence that the National Lighter Museum was located right there in the town of Guthrie, OK. It looks to be a fun little stop… but heads up. I don’t see any updates on their website after 2008 so if you’re ready for that kind of museuming you should probably give them a call to make sure they’re still in business.
We all need to work a little whimsy into our landscapes.
I’d love it if someone would ask me to organize an International Folly Tour for them. No, not that kind of tour. I mean a tour where we’d visit a variety of famous follies, or “buildings that are often eccentric in design or construction” that look useful but are really just for decoration. Buildings like the Swallow’s Nest in Crimea or the Creaking Pagoda in Russia. Much of our tour would need to be spent in the UK, which makes complete sense in a droll, dry-humory kind of way. And apparently Ireland is jam-packed with follies, not because the Irish are such pranksters but because folly constructions were popular government make-work projects during the Potato Famine and as a result the country is a gold mine of “roads in the middle of nowhere; screen and estate walls; piers in the middle of bogs; etc.”
Round Top’s best examples of the genre can be found in the form of birdhouse-styled garden follies by Ludmil at Willow Nest. I saw my first one along the entry walk at N°3 in Round Top and fell in love with the country chic styling. Good thing I had the chance to see Willow Nest’s gorgeous booth at Marburger on Preview Day last fall because when I went back three days later it was pretty much shopped clean.
On a personal note, my house came with a sort of pitiful little structure in the yard that I’ve found looks a whole lot better if I tell myself, “It’s not a shabbily constructed gazebo, it’s a folly!” If you also have an unfortunate structure in your view, you might want to give it a try.
I’m assuming the doves were sold with their gorgeous cage but I didn’t ask so here’s hoping they didn’t become a pot pie. (Too droll? Sorry!)
In this random list of my very favorite things about my very favorite place I’ve tried to capture the area’s special pieces and parts. Some are big deal, some are small gestures, some are legendary and some are just tiny pip and squeak.
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