We go to junk shops, and somehow think the stuff inside is worth more if the word “Antiques” is emblazoned across the top of the building. We go to Cracker Barrel because we think, somehow, that the food is cooked more like it was in “the old days” when really their kitchen has as many microwaves as any other restaurant. The difference is the names of the food items on the menu, like “biscuits and gravy”, “Old Timer’s Breakfast” and “Grandpa’s Country Fried Breakfast”. Then there’s the “country store” atmosphere and the farming implements and old family photographs that make up the décor of this famous restaurant.
Some people collect antique plates, some spoons, some love old and unusual clocks; for as many things that there are, there’s someone that collects. And some people collect information: Me? I like old books; and they don’t have to be in particularly good shape. I just love the feel, the look and the smell of an old book. But that’s not so unusual. For one thing, I’m a writer, and it gives me joy to see someone else’s hard work that has lasted as long as it has (my earliest book, I think, is 1897). Another reason is that I love the smell of a bookstore. Maybe it’s the ink, and the pages.
I think the main reason I like old books is because I know many eyes have read the words and this old book I hold in my hands has passed through many minds to open up new thoughts and ideas. For me, I don’t believe the written word is on its way out. The book may take on a virtual form as we now see with Kindle, Nook and various other versions of this electronic device, but there will always be people who read. For me, there’s no better way to read than with an actual book in my hands.
But I digress.
I think one reason people like antiques is because it reminds them of their own individual history. Or an antique reminds them of a person they love. I have one friend who loves old clocks because he had a friendship with his wife’s grandfather who was an old clockmaker. Certainly one of the reasons old clocks are so special to him, is because of the friendship this man had.
For others, antiques remind them of a time when life was not as technological as it is now. People my age look back with fondness on 4th of July celebrations, making ice cream, swinging on gates on grandma and grandpa’s farm, and going to church in an old country sanctuary in the woods.
For people of my grandparents’ generation, antiques remind them of the old days when the United States was more agricultural and less industrial. And you’ll always find references to that agricultural foundation in shops and restaurants. You’ll also find many reminders of our western past; especially in the states where the west is not that far away from still being wild.
For whatever reasons, people generally love antiques. They remind us of something more lasting than what we have now. Our culture seems to have changed from a repair culture to a disposable culture. Now it’s cheaper to buy new than to repair the old. When we look at an antique desk, we see real wood, not particle board and when we see an old clock, we see metal gears, not plastic chips.
And just as antiques are beautiful, some of the people we know who lived during the time when these antiques were new are beautiful. I know one woman who has loved the Lord since she was a teen. She is a gracious woman filled with love and intelligence and who has always reached out and shared her love of the Lord with all who come in contact with her.
Then there’s my Aunt Flora and Uncle Cliff, both close to 80 now if not in their eighties. I don’t know what I would have become if they’d not prayed for me, even as far removed as I was from them. I do know that I’d not be the woman I am today if it hadn’t been for their prayers and influence. I might not even be alive.
So, I would like to say thank you to all those folks who have loved the Lord and prayed for those whom the Lord placed on their hearts. You are the ones who have passed on the baton. I want to be like you when I grow up.