Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Blessed to Receive, Too

I have been a devout Anglophile (lover of things British) since childhood. When I was five, I was given a record that had several of A.A. Milne’s poems set to music. I probably drove my mother nuts by playing it over and over (“They’re changing the guard at Buckingham Palace/Christopher Robin went down with Alice . . .”). When I was in sixth and seventh grade, I used to hurry home from school because there was very often a showing of an English movie such as “The Cruel Sea,” and “The Lavender Hill Mob.” My mother and I would sit on the couch together and revel in the scenery and accents and attitudes and the weird sense of British humor. One thing I remember seeing in a war movie was just very brief: a sign on a brick wall that said, Take Courage. I found out later that Courage was a brand of beer, and that was their motto. I thought to myself then – and over the years – that I’d like one of those signs.

So last week I decided, for the upteenth time, to try to find one. And by gum, I found an e-Bay ad for a brass sign from before World War II, featuring a slim rooster embossed in the center, a fancy frame of embossed hops and barley, and, above and below the rooster the motto: Take Courage. It was about fifteen by twenty-two inches. Well, I just knew the thing would go for hundreds of pounds, but the starting bid was only twenty-two pounds. I was certainly willing to pay twenty-two pounds for that beautiful thing. Heck, thirty pounds! So I clicked on it and made my bid. The auction had three days to go, and when I checked back the next day I was still the only bidder. Encouraged, I looked at how much it would cost to get the thing to me. Ouch! It was overweight and oversize for their regular mail service and it would cost almost exactly twice what I was bidding to send it to the United States SURFACE MAIL (i.e. slow boat). To send it by air would double the rate. I began to hope for other bids. None came. On the third day, as the hours ran down, I was still hoping for one of those clever people who wait till the last minute to outbid me. None did. I won the auction. It cost me a little over a hundred dollars for a piece of dented brass.

But the next morning, as I was whining to a dear friend about my expensive mistake, she said, “In one year, you will have forgotten the money; but if you didn’t get it, in one year you would be crying that you let it go.” You know something? She’s right. In fact, it took less than a year. I looked at the picture of it again the next morning, and was so pleased I won the auction! I can’t wait for it to come, I have already have selected the wall it will hang on, and have told my husband that it’s my Christmas present.

So for all of you out there: Take Courage.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!


Sheila Connolly said...

Why is it we always remember the ones that got away?

And eBay is an evil, corrupting force! One (who is undisciplined--not me, of course) can waste endless hours trolling for useless stuff, and getting sucked into auctions.

At the moment I've been outbid for a 1957 Irish pulp mystery. In Irish. I'm still trying to decide if I want to put in another bid. Don't ask me why.

Enjoy your sign!

Deb Baker said...

Sheila's right. eBay is like an addictive drug. I decided to sell a few things on eBay. What a rush! It's as good or better than putting in bids. My husband had to stop me from selling everything we own.

Have a great Thanksgiving.

Camille Minichino said...

I think it's exciting, Monica .. having something specific in mind like that and going for it, especially if you're over forty (hope I'm not guessing wrong!) then you've earned it and -- WOW how great.

Also, a hundred dollars is the new $49.99.

Disney Mummy said...

Ebay is my best enabler for vintage View-Master goodies. Now when I see the email alerts I just delete them--okay, most of the time I do.

Linda O. Johnston said...

I'll drink to that, Monica!

Monica Ferris said...

Sheila, you are so right! They say old men (and women) most regret the sins they didn't commit, so this is probably a part of that. I hope you didn't put in a bid for that Irish mystery, unless you can read Irish. On the other hand I just won an auction for a Fontanini figurine -- I already have over a hundred of them. They're beautiful, and addictive. Just go take a look . . .